It wouldn’t be very good of me to miss mentioning the Master of Horror during Banned Book Week. Yes, I’m a Stephen King fan, but I’m not “his #1 fan!” 🙂
I’ve read all of his books except The Talisman or Black House, his collaborations with Peter Straub. I haven’t read these because I don’t much care for Peter Straub and can’t help thinking that King’s work will be worse for it. I will probably get around to reading them anyway. There are a lot of King’s books on the Banned Book list including Cujoand The Dead Zone. I’m not sure why Cujo is on the Banned Book list except for the frightening subject matter of a rabid dog. All of King’s earlier works are pretty insightful commentaries on the disintegration of the nuclear family due to either a father’s alcoholism and abuse, or some other malady. The Dead Zone is banned I’m sure because the main character’s mother is an apocalyptic fundamentalist who retreats into religion in order to cope with her son’s coma. Fundamentalists don’t like being stereotyped as hysterical or unreasonable. Of course, one could argue that the subject matter is unsuitable for children, but you know what? Sometimes FAMILIES are unsuitable for children! I grew up in a very abusive household and nothing I read scared me much, especially when your family is your main source of fright. Today, there are many, many children living this way and King merely writes truth, with a twist. What I love is the way he takes ordinary situations and makes them horrific. That’s life in a nutshell!
I allowed my kids to read King in Jr. High because I wanted them to read, read, read. And they read. They read King sometimes two and three times, especially It. King saves those in his fictional worlds through children, where he probably sees the most hope. I do not subscribe to the theory that the world is deteriorating because of “today’s youth.” The world is deteriorating because of ADULTS! Rabid, unreasonable adults, who beat kids, force their beliefs on you, punish, and maim you and then expect you to grow up to be normal. Now that’s unreasonable! Carrie is every teenager’s dream revenge novel.
When I was young I read most of the books on the Banned Book list. Why are they there? Because adults do not want adolescents to have any feelings of rebellion, hatred, or outright dislike for parents. They probably wouldn’t have these feelings if their parents were normal! Don’t get me wrong, most parents are loving, hardworking, and appear to be normal, but a very large percentage are not. I say we should clean up our own acts first before blaming kids for the state of society. Read Go Ask Alice. Watch the movie Thirteen and then try to remember when you were a teenager with raging hormones, a bad household, and nothing to do but rebel.
But beside all that, all of King’s books are simply good reads. Some are better than others. Some are simply boring. But all are entertaining. Go ahead, pick one up, you know you want to.