the good, the bad and the frustrating

since this is called books and life, i thought i would speak about a few books i have recently read. today i will start with the frustrating. for those of you who are stephen king fans and have not read cell, this is a spoiler warning.
so the premise of the book is that at a certain time on a certain day anyone who is talking on a cell phone gets infected with a "virus" that makes them go crazy. people start biting each other, ripping other people's hearts out, tearing off their dog's ear with their get the picture. well the story follows this man, Clay, who does not become one of the "phone crazies" as he tries to get back to his estranged wife and child in the midst of this event. throughout the story he befriends others who haven't been infected and they begin to walk from Boston to Maine (where his family is). they have a lot of near misses and have to defend themselves and try to find a way to survive. as they progress they begin to figure out more of what has happened. Clay and his friends decide to torch a group of the crazies. as a result they become the prime target of the crazies and the "normies" begin to discover that the crazies are evolving and beginning to control the minds, dreams and actions of the normies. eventually the crazies force all of the normies to a location where they don't think there is phone reception - the site of a carnival in that specific town. Clay and his pals are forced there and held in a building. they hatch a plan to blow up a bunch of the crazies. it works and they are able to escape. at this point in the book, Clay has seen his wife and knows she is a crazie, and although he hasn't found his son he is pretty sure he is crazy to some extent. this is because the original crazies were infecting the previously normal people by making them listen to cell phones. the problem was that the virus in the phones had mutated to the point that those who got it later were only mildly crazy. so Clay separates from his friends to find his son. once he does he finds that his son is in fact infected but only to the extent that he acts somewhat mentally retarded. it seems he has lost all of his knowledge - using the bathroom, speaking, taking care of himself, etc. in the later parts of the book one of Clay's friends hypothesizes that if you could get a crazie to listen to the cell phone again it would sort of reboot the system back to normal. so Clay is hoping that it will work for his son. so he tries it...
now you know why i call this one "the frustrating".
i am not one of those readers who always wants the main characters to ride off into the sunset at the end, but i do want to know what actually happens at the end. i feel like king left out the last chapter of the book. i would have been happy if the kid bit his dad's head off and ran around in the streets naked. i just wanted SOMETHING to happen.
so there's my rant.
i do need to say that i think king is a master. he understands human fear better than any other author. he understands that the people question what they will do in the face of disaster. more than once i found myself telling the main characters what i would do. more than once i found myself wondering if i would be able to do what i was telling the characters to do. king brings you into a horrible world that makes you question what can be reality and what you would do in the face of that reality.
cell by stephen king
includes the following:
foul language
crude references to genitalia
graphic descriptions of violence
sexual references but not situations.

tune in next time for "the bad"


Jennifer said...

ooooh - a new post! You have to read "On Writing" by Stephen King - more of a memoir but with great insight into how he writes.