“Joyland” by Stephen King

JoylandJoyland by Stephen King

It’s 1973 and Devin jones just got a summer job at Joyland amusement park in North Carolina. Along with this new job come new friends, new scenery, a new language (carny talk), a break from school, and a break from his girlfriend (albeit unwanted). During his time at Joyland he learns and grows, embarking on that difficult job of growing up and becoming a man. Furthermore, as the publisher notes, Devin must “confront the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the way both will change his life forever.”

When I started this book, I wasn’t entirely certain what to expect. The cover screams frightening carnival story, but the blurb compared it to The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption. I came to the conclusion that it was likely a mix of the two. King, as always, tells a superbly crafted story, but, because of my mixed expectations, I was not able to enjoy it to it’s full extent. I found myself waiting and waiting for the story to get scary. However, the mystery of Linda Gray, although creepy at times, rarely even bordered on scary. If I had known that from the start, I think I would have been able to appreciate the story more for what it is–a fine coming of age tale.

If you are a fan of Stephen King, you will enjoy his story-telling mastery in this, his latest novel. However, go into knowing what you’re getting into: a coming of age story with a hint of mystery. This is not a horror story. If you don’t like horror, then don’t let the fact that the master of horror, Stephen King, penned this novel get in your way! It’s a great read and it’s not scary!