I finished, you guys! I cotton-pickin’ finished. I was getting worried there—afraid I wouldn’t get through 1074 pages before the end of the DomeAlong: a summer readalong of Under the Dome by Stephen King, hosted by Natalie at Coffee and a Book Chick, from May 25–July 27. (No spoilers in this post.) From Goodreads:
I really enjoyed participating in the DomeAlong, and it was wonderful to revisit the writing of “Uncle Stevie.” I haven’t read a book of King’s since… maybe high school? Early high school? Certainly middle school. I remember reading Pet Sematary when I was maybe around age 12 and seeing the movie right after, and both scared the SHIT out of me. I’ve read some of the other King staples too, like Carrie and The Shining of course. Lots of people have compared Dome to The Stand. That one I haven’t read, but I remember the cheesy TV miniseries, and I can see the similarities.
Anyway, without the DomeAlong I doubt I would have ever picked up Under the Dome. I’m usually pretty hesitant with super-long books and Dome is a BRICK. One thing I regret about my reading pace with this one is how slowly I read it, though. First, because looking at it, it’s a really long book, I felt I’d need to read something else concurrently to mix up my entertainment. Second, I took two weeklong road trips during the DomeAlong date range, and didn’t bring it with (again, BRICK). So there were times I took a break from reading for a week or more. Mistake. I wish I had read this in the span of a week (and I could have, it’s actually a quick read if you can believe it), because the novel takes place in that amount of time, and I think the events and unraveling of the town would have had a bigger impact on me had I not spent two months spreading out my reading. And by the time I hit around 800 pages, after almost two months, I was ready for the book to be done. Not that it was bad or dragging! Definitely not. Dome is packed with live-or-die action and compelling backstories and stomach-turning jerkiness. Some people didn’t like the ending, though, but I thought it was appropriate. Not the best ending of a book I ever read, but it worked for me.
As usual in his books, King painstakingly created a whole universe with its own fascinating history in Dome. I learned more about the “Mill” than I was expecting. Dark, shameful secrets. Dirty dealin’. Hidden pasts and addictions. Very quickly you realize that the dome itself isn’t the worst threat these townspeople face. I found myself getting completely immersed and invested in the town and its inhabitants—no matter how many reading breaks I took.
I forgot how much King can make you care about his many characters, whom he is able to make individually memorable, and then kills them off! I was rooting for Barbie and Julia, I wanted the Everett family to make it—all of them, Joe McClatchey and his crew, and more. Poor Ollie Dinsmore! Poor Sammy Bushey! POOR WOODCHUCK! There’s a lot of bad stuff and a lot death. Some gore, kind of a lot of violence (some reprehensible and shocking), but not straight-up horror like you find in IT. Junior though… <shudder> And Big Jim was a real son-of-a-rhymes-with-witch. A guy you kinda love to hate, admit it. Extra scary because people like him exist—ruthless people who will stop at nothing and spare no one in their greedy quest for ultimate power. During several parts of the book I’d be asking myself, how much more evil can he get?? 20 pages later: Oh. A lot more. Yeesh.
Ok, confession: I didn’t get the “How’s Ken?” joke until the last quarter of the book. DERPS
And Homer Simpson DID make an appearance, yay!!
After reading Dome and finding others through DomeAlong, I’m going to add King’s 11/22/63 to my TBR. Thanks to Natalie at Coffee and a Book Chick for starting this whole summer readalong clustermug! 🙂
Read from May 29 to July 26, 2013.