Revisiting Stephen King
Posted: November 17, 2002
Revisiting Stephen King by Sharon Russel isn't a book you get and just read. If you get this one you are probably going to use it in some kind of work about King or his work. Like a term paper or something like that. In Revisiting Stephen King Sharon takes a deeper look at some of King's work. To be more exact the books Desperation, The Regulators, The Green Mile, Wizard and Glass, Bag of Bones, Hearts in Atlantis, The Girl who loved Tom Gordon and Dreamcatcher.
Sharon is analyzing King's writing style and how King is developing the characters in the book. She is also giving a description of what a genre is. This is done because she is putting the books in different genres and this is the basis to her decisions.
Personally I'm not to impressed with this book. It feels too much like a school paper and not like a deeper analyze of King's work. One thing that is disturbing with this book (that has nothing to do with it's content though) is the use of source references. I prefer when it's used with a small number in the text and then the book titles are listed at the bottom of the page. Sharon is using another system though. She is putting the title in the text and this really interrupts the flow of the reading. It's a distraction.
Is the book interesting then? Well, some if it is but far from everything. I think that my problem with this book is that I read it as a fan of King's books and not because I'm doing a paper on his writing style. I guess that the book would be more interesting if I was doing a paper.
As it is now the plot description of each book and the character description isn't that interesting since I already know what the book is about and who's in it (I have read them all at least one time). The analyze of the plot is a bit more interesting though. Here you can compare her description with your own interpretations of the book.
At the back of the book there is an index. Most of it's good but some of the sections are extremely incomplete if you ask me. In the section with non-fiction Sharon mentions the three non-fiction books King has done (Danse Macabre, On Writing and Secret Window) and then she starts to list articles by King. Here is where she is making her mistake. She isn't by far listing all King's non-fiction articles and by including this list she is just giving us an incomplete list, which is confusing. It would have been better if she would just had listed the three books and then end the list or list all the non-fiction articles by King, which would have required quite some work on her part.
Somewhat the same problem is appearing when she lists the sites by King that is available on the web. Here I realize that she can't possible list all the sites but the ones she lists are far from the best one out there. I'm not saying that they aren't good sites but there are more sites out there that are a must if you are doing a list of sites about King. To give you some examples she left out sites like Charnel House and Needful Things and instead she has sites that haven't been updated in a couple of years or that isn't even online any more on the list (not all of them though). That's not what I call good research. It feels more like she has just done a search on King and then taken the first hits she got.
Lilja's final words about Revisiting Stephen King
If you use this book to write a paper you might get more out of it then I did. It's as much the purpose of this book to be a source for papers as it is a paper itself (just bound a little better). As a relaxing read on a cold winter evening in front of the fireplace you can do much better with a book by King…anyone of them in fact.