book reviews by Althea

Under the Dome – Stephen King ***

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A mysterious transparent barrier appears, cutting off a small Maine town from the outside world.
And then things happen, and there are many, many details provided about the events that transpire.

In many ways, this book is classic King. If you’re a fan, you’ll like it. I nearly always find myself critical of King – but yet, I keep reading his books – hey, there’s something to them. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the book, but still, from my perspective, it’s both too long for the actual content, and the content is overblown.

I would’ve liked it more if it were a more serious study of the psychological effects of insularity and isolation – and there are some nods in that direction, especially toward the end of the book. But for all King’s exhaustive detail regarding his many characters, there isn’t a lot of depth here. The evil folks are pure evil, and the good folks are unambiguously The Good Guys.

And a great deal of the book, for me is just ‘too much.’ Too many coincidences, too many ridiculous things shoehorned in.

This randomly-chosen small town Just Happens to be run by a used-car salesman with delusions of grandeur who Just Happens to secretly be the top meth lab kingpin in America, who Just Happens to have a son with a brain tumor who is a serial killer… etc. I was OK with the reason for it all being Aliens, but the logic doesn’t really hold up to much analysis – you just have to accept that, well, it’s aliens, and this is all a metaphor for the universality of unthinking cruelty.(?)

I also found the finale, like in many King novels, too overdramatic and not very believable. The fact that the “good guys” lived and everyone else dies was also just too much.


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