I’m not even slightly embarrassed to admit that, after finishing Under the Dome on Saturday afternoon, I set it down on my nightstand, took off my glasses and had myself a little cry. No, not because I’m on some experimental medication, pregnant or going through the changes. This is an emotional book! It’s a scary one, sure, but also gripping, tragic and overwhelmingly bleak.
So, context: Although I’ve known of Under the Dome for years (and of the somewhat hilarious similarities between its plot and that of The Simpsons Movie), I neglected to actually buy the thing until last week. Currently4/7ths of the way through Stephen King’s seven-volume (soon to be eight) Dark Tower series, I’ve basically been King-ed out. It was only after dinner with a friend—I’m a huge sucker for glowing recommendations—that I decided to bite the bullet.
It’s worth noting that, Dark Tower commitment issues aside, I’ve always loved Stephen King. Along with Dean Koontz, one might say he transitioned me from the 200-page Christopher Pike novels of my childhood into sprawling stories with dozens of characters and themes that sailed right over my 10-year-old head. And while King’s writing is often concerned with the supernatural, it’s just as often—if not more frequently—concerned with human nature, with what people do and who they become when pitted against something terrifying, or life-threatening, or world-ending. Some of King’s books—The Green Mile, Carrie, Gerald’s Game—wear this theme on their sleeve, while others couch it in vampires or monsters or ancient spiritual forces. Either way, the man’s got a worldview: As a species, it doesn’t (or wouldn’t) take us long to hit rock bottom.Continue reading “A dome of one’s own”