Joyland is a Joy!
By Stephen King
Hard Case Crime, $12.95, 283 pages
The Master Storyteller has done the impossible: improved upon his own perfection as a storyteller. Stephen King has beautifully and seamlessly weaved a tapestry of the past, present and future like memories that ebb and flow through our own minds in his latest work, Joyland.
The story begins with Devin Jones as he heads to North Carolina to get his first summer job at an amusement park called Joyland, leaving behind his girlfriend Wendy Keegan in the hopes of winning her affections once again. What he finds is new friendships, a job he loves, a mystic, a ghost, a woman, her son and his dog, and pure adventure.
“When it comes to the past, everyone writes fiction.”
King writes in the first-person voice, masterfully depicting the protagonist’s true nature. The characters of Devin’s life are relatable and engaging, calling to mind childhood memories of the reader’s own experiences at amusements parks. Rather than soil the flow of the story with those pesky chapters, the master of horror separates one- to two-page sections with, ironically, little black hearts and ends the previous section’s piece with a poignant, one-liner final thought, whetting the reader’s appetite for more. Plot twists and surprises, which are notorious to King’s novels, are especially mesmerizing in this story, mainly because he just cuts to the chase and doesn’t follow his usual over-development of settings and characters. Readers will enjoy this story again and again. This is a must read even if you’ve never been a Stephen King fan before!
Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson