I absolutely love this book of novellas by Stephen King. Each tale tells of how a person is pitted up against a life changing event and how that individual faces it. Each story takes your mind and forces you to decide what you would do in such an event.
1922 – The first novella is about a married couple in Hemingford Home, Nebraska and as many of you might know, this is the home of Mother Abigail from Stephen King’s The Stand. The wife inherits 100 acres of farmland and wants to sell it, but the husband wants to use the 100 acres and combine it with his own. He also doesn’t want a butchery up the stream from him. His son is on his side and as the wife decides to involve lawyers, the father and son duo do Something they never thought they could do.
I rate this story, on a scale of 1-10, an 8/10. I love the story, but I sort of wish it was told from the sons point of view. It was kind of hard to get into, but once I was in it, I couldn’t stop reading.
Big Driver – In the second Novella we meet Tess, a successful writer who has made quite a retirement account out from public speaking events. She is invited to speak at library in Chicopee, Massachusetts and on such short notice, making the librarian offer her more than what she usually gets. After the event goes off without a hitch, the librarian tells Tess of a shortcut to get home faster. On this shortcut she runs over a piece of wood with a nail sticking out of it. A guy driving a Ford F150 stops some time after and offers her some help, but as Tess closes his door for him so his battery wont run out she sees a stack of wood with nails sticking out of them in the bed and then she finds out what kind of help he really wants to give her.
I rate this story, on a scale of 1-10, a 9/10. I was quickly pulled into the story and I loved every second as I routed for Tess.
Fair Extension – The Third novella is a about Dave Streeter, a man who has just found out he has cancer and will not live much longer. On his way home he sees a man set up on the road out by the airport. It isn’t unusual as venders do this all the time, what is unusual is at what time he is there. At such time the street is pretty much deserted. Streeter approaches the man to find out he deals in “extensions” and is willing to give him an extension on life. Immediately Streeter thinks he’s a mental patient who has escaped Juniper Hills mental hospital, also the mental hospital from IT, and jokingly agrees to his extension. The man, George Elvid, tells him it will cost him 15% of his salary for the rest of his life and he must “transfer the weight of this to another person”. After a week, the doctor shows his cancer disappearing and Streeter sees who the weight was transferred to.
I rate this story, on a scale of 1-10, a 9/10. From the moment I started reading the story I didn’t put it down until I was finished.
A Good Marriage – The Fourth novella was my favorite. Darcy and Bob Anderson have been married for 27 years and she thinks she knows absolutely everything about him until one day she needs to get some batteries for the remote control. She goes into his garage to retrieve them and almost falls over a stack of magazines. As she searches through them, they were the ones Bob said she spent too much money on, she gets angry and is going to bring them into the house to spite him. She comes across a porno mag where the woman on the cover is being tortured. Disgusted, but not mad as she understands some men need this type of thing, she puts the magazines back and kicks the box under the table. She hears a sound as the box meets a hollow spot in the wall and upon closer examination revels a deep dark secret.
I rate this story, on a scale of 1-10, a perfect 10/10. I loved the story beginning to end. I loved the hard choices Darcy was faced with and how King shows that you never truly know somebody.
Under the Weather – For those of us lucky enough to have bought this book with the bonus story, we are introduced an ad executive who is married to a girl who cannot conceive. She had taken medicine when she was a kid that not only took that ability away, but gave her heart conditions. There is an awful smell in the building they live in and as the exterminators check out the apartment they think its coming from, he gets a call from the super to let them know it was his apartment and they needed him to be there to go in. I can’t say much more, as I would be giving the story away.
I rate this story, on a scale of 1-10, a 8/10. Although it was a short story in a book of novellas, it was a good story and it fit perfectly in with the theme of this book.