Stephen King – "The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates" Review

This short story of Mr. King’s “The New York Times…” really needed to be longer, it is better than “Harvey’s Dream,” but that isn’t saying much. It starts off with a mystery, and ends in twilight. He is by far no Bram Stoker in writing short stories; it is goofy, a little gross, plainly written, more satire than drama or whatever: to be honest, when he wrote the book “Just before Sunset,” he should have reviewed some of H.P. Lovecraft’s short stories, and Clark A. Smith’s, and Stokers: you can see he’s out of practice.

It is about a plane crash, and although Mr. King has a great imagination, he unendingly and unnecessarily plants dumb innuendos here and there throughout this ten-page story, although I think he’s having fun doing it. Anyhow, there is not much energy in this story, but a good story line. He cusses, and I can’t guess why, do people really cuss that much around him-do people really get a jolt out of that? It doesn’t do the story any good. His style is like a flat balloon although his dialogue is better than “Harvey’s Dream” and the narration is one step up.

I’m not going to tell you the end of the story, a writer needs to sell books, good or not. If you read it, you’ll have to read it twice to absorb it completely I do believe: or read it slow. Plus, he could have found a better name for the story. He’s lucky he has a following; he’d starve to death if he depended on this book. (8-12-2010)

Book Review – The Dog Thief: And Other Stories by Jill Kearney

It is often hard to describe the intricate relationships between animals and their humans. In her book, “The Dog Thief: And Other Stories,” Jill Kearney has no such issue, delivering a poignant collection of short stories that pull at your heartstrings, leaving imprints not likely to fade when the reading is finished.

Inspired by her own experiences working as a care provider and dog rescuer, Kearney spins the narratives of people forgotten or displaced by society, and the animals that place their trust in them. In her own words, “I’m interested in the lives of people who feel like they don’t matter to anyone.” This statement truly echoes throughout the book.

The collection begins with the self-titled novella, The Dog Thief, in which neighbors of a downtrodden community band together to rescue a couple of dogs from their neglectful owner. Donald, the owner of the dogs, actually inherits the dogs upon the death of his mother and then later, his sister. Donald is lazy and neglectful toward the dogs, yet one gets the impression he feels duty-bound to keep them. His protectiveness of the dogs however belies any regard he has toward their well-being, placing his mental capacity into question, at least for this reader. The author also weaves riveting subplots into the story as we follow Donald’s neighbors in their efforts to help. Dealing with the injustices and the confines of their environment, Elizabeth, Blacksnake, The One-Eyed Woman, and others provide intriguing viewpoints of the complex issues they encounter as they learn first-hand how seemingly insignificant acts can make a difference in the world.

The short stories that follow the novella are just as captivating, each one striking a chord within, causing a need to stop for contemplation before moving onto the next. I was so drawn by some of the characters and the ways I could feel what they were feeling and going through, I actually read several of the stories twice.

Kearney’s writing is passionate, straightforward and direct. Foregoing the need to placate the reader with sugar-coated narrative, her voice and certain outspoken nature tells it like it is, with a wit and freshness that is as charming and endearing as it is haunting and discomforting. Seriously, there is no way one can help but be moved by these stories. Some of the most paltry surroundings, places I could never have imagined, became clear and distinct in my mind through the vivid and rich descriptions presented by the author.

Heartbreak, helplessness, hope, and inspiration – these words only hint at the range of sensations readers will feel in these pages. “The Dog Thief: And Other Stories,” by Jill Kearney is a book I highly recommend. Pet and human advocates will be hard pressed to put this book down as Kearney provides an insightful look into what truly matters.

Short Story Review – Stephen King’s "Harvey’s Dream"

From the book “Just after Sunset,” by Stephen King: “Harvey’s Dream” a ten page story, in a book over 350-pages, $28.000 (I got it on sale for $7.00; thank goodness), dated 2008. To my knowledge, Mr. King hasn’t written short stories for a while, this book was his first in a number of years. It says on the leaf inside the book “Stephen King…delivers an astonishing collection of short stories….” Harvey’s Dream, is far from being astonishing. I read a few of his books years ago, only one impressed me, but I never read his short stories, and this story is badly written, by anybody’s standards. I haven’t gotten to the full book yet, it make take a year or two after reading this ten-page story which is real stale, oversimplified, written in short sentences that don’t seem to connect properly.

He uses stupid phrases, idioms that don’t fit the character or mood or life of the story-and perhaps a bit confusing for the younger reader; it seems he’s simply grabbing at anything, knowing his name will carry the book over the silliness of it all, the sentences-in particular their endings awkward to say the least. He sounds like a reporter, and a 3rd person reporter, that shouldn’t be reporting. He uses four-letter words, cuss words, to maximize the potency, or let’s say, to emphases the mood, and by gosh, it just falls fat, like someone staring at you, dumbfounded.

He uses click, catchphrases, tags like “Waterloo,” or “Alfalfa of the Little Rascals,” or “The Sopranos,” to make his point (dumb, dumb and dumber). I can’t imagine any one wanting to reread this story, and I’m afraid to move on and read the other several stories in the book, it’s embarrassing, I’m embarrassed for him-odd isn’t it. He’s evidently, not working for posterity of his works, most folks, writers nowadays aren’t, and it shows. But this story should never have been put into the book, it’s really beneath him. (8-11-2010)