Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chance's Corner: Joyland

As anticipation grows for Stephen King's Doctor Sleep, due to be released on the 24th of this month, I decided to take a dive into his last current work Joyland. I'll start off by admitting that I was a little apprehensive about this endeavor. Mentally, Mr. King and I have sparred over his ego on several occasions... especially while I labored over It. Don't get me started on that, please. This is about Joyland, which much to my surprise, is considerably different than any of King's other works.

Set at a small amusement park, Joyland features 21 year old Devin Jones who flees from a broken heart and dives into the eccentric world of a carny. It's supposed to be a tale of mystery, horror, and growing up. In my opinion, this tale is only about growing up. There are subtle hints of a ghost in the Horror House, a Carny Killer, and a crippled child with the power of Sight, but these are all so rushed through... so passed over that I don't think King actually knew what he was wanting to write about. Overall, there is no mystery. He gives much of the story away in previous chapters, and the Carny Killer only makes an appearance in the last twenty pages when a likeable character suddenly becomes sadistic. Why did King think that was a great idea? That is the real mystery.

With the lack of horror and mystery aside, I will admit that I did enjoy this simple read. Even though I wasn't even a thought in the 70's, I easily related to Devin and his life at Joyland. It's very... nostalgic. Perhaps that is what it really boils down to. Nothing serious. There is no King ego at Joyland, and perhaps that is why this story lacks.

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