My First Time: Reading My First Stephen King Novel: Lisey's Story

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Christine62

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
493
3,117
56
Oklahoma City
#1
It was all my sister Sylvia's fault. She was saying how she listened to audio books during her morning commute to work in San Antonio. "Okay." I said. Not really noting anything because she read ghost romances and political thrillers. Not my bag at all. I was a short form girl: poetry, short stories, short essays. I read 'em and I write 'em. I didn't have the patience for novels. The last novel I attempted was in 1997--It was Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood. Now I loved her short story, "Rape Fantasies" (which isn't what you think). But Cat's Eye, I didn't get or I was impatient because about a third of the way through I stopped reading because I was mentally editing her book.
Flash back to a few months ago, my sister Sylvia said "Oh I listened to one you will really like it's by Stephen King. "Oh no kidding" I said, now intrigued. Sylvia didn't seem like the "Stephen King type" at all to me. (I have since revised what a Stephen King type is). "Yes," she said, "it's called 11-22-63 about this guy who tries to prevent the shooting of Kennedy." I inwardly frowned. Not my kind of story at all, I thought. (I was wrong again. AWESOME STORY essay forthcoming).
I decided to take her audio book idea and checked out a couple of titles from the library. Snore fest. I finally broke down and decided to give Mr. King a try--my very first novel was Lisey's Story.
Being an adult and a writer I am just wired differently--I notice language first. The language in Lisey's Story jumped out at me. It knocked me over. It crawled in my brain and took up residence in the living room of my mind and lives there still but now has to make room for all the other Stephen King Novels I have read.
One of my favorite is something that starts out as "the impressive stacks and piles of memorabilia which ran the length of the study's south wall." But the next time he mentions the stack along the wall, it becomes a "slumbering stack along the wall." Then stack that is 4 feet high and 30 feet long transforms into a "dusty booksnake" and I am amazed at his cleverness and am almost expecting it to start moving to devour her.
It doesn't of course but her memories almost do--they come and she runs--not wanting to remember the darkest ones or even the sweetest ones because those are painful too. This is a story for me about acceptance---a willingness to accept ALL of a person the good, the bad and the ugly. Lisey saved her husband in many ways as long time loves often do and in the end he saves her from her crushing grief, from her fear of the past and from that other thing.
Lisey's Story was the perfect novel for my first time and I am so glad that I came along to read Mr. King as an adult and as a writing because I can appreciate the layers of meaning in his prose, his language for me is an end in itself not just a means to carry the story along. Mr. King said in an interview that he hopes that people will read his books first for story but then go back a second time for the language--I kinda got that backward, I imagine I always will--I guess I'm wired that way.
 
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Winter

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2013
999
3,190
#9
I'm on my first reading of it too...I keep feeling like I missed something, I go back then realise its deliberately vague at times. It does make you wonder how much of the dynamic between husband and wife he has pulled from his own feelings doesnt it? Maybe none...but it makes me curious.
Anyways I'm really enjoying it, though totally not reading it at work. Nope, not me.
 

Christine62

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
493
3,117
56
Oklahoma City
#10
It's a great one to start out on, luckily there are a whole bunch of other books you can start on after that. Enjoy!
I am trying to read other things but I keep coming back to Mr. King--go figure. I don't think there is any harm for a writer to read one writer exclusively for a while. Faulkner was bed bound growing up and did nothing but read all the classics...over and over. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for literature in 1953. Likewise when Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a young man, he developed meningitis stayed in bed for a year reading nothing but Faulkner over and over and he won the Nobel Peace Prize for literature in 1983. So if I read Mr. King over and over maybe in 20 years I will win something--I know I will have a lot of dark, dark pizza dreams!
 

Winter

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2013
999
3,190
#11
Ooooo ok, now I am all but a 1/4 left to read and man-I am loving this one. This is the 2nd one in a row thats been one of those titles I skim past but hasnt called me to read (11.22.63 being the other) and have absolutely loved them! Looking forward to the ending.
 

Christine62

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
493
3,117
56
Oklahoma City
#13
Yeah, I'm going to have to read this one again to read through all the creepy parts about his dad and his brother--I fast forwarded them--I don't like human cruelty--and then why do I read Stephen King---the stories, the characters and mostly FOR THE LANGUAGE.
 

Wasp27

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2014
65
422
30
Louisiana
#16
Literally just finished reading this for the first time. WOW. Once the story got going and around the middle where Lisey is remembering everything Scott had told her about Paul... My god. King's most emotionally unsettling work of recent...the images of that poor boy and of Boo'ya Moon are the kind of thoughts that don't leave you once you've read them. Reading this reminded me of when I saw 'changeling' for the first time- I was expecting it to be a decent if not good movie (afterall it's a Clint film) and then I was totally taken aback by the darkness of it. It stayed with me after I watched it, and lisey's story has had the same effect. For me, when I think of this book I'll think mostly of King describing Paul, and grieve for that poor, poor boy and that land where it isn't safe to be after dark. Excellent, excellent story.
 

MandarkC

Active Member
Mar 11, 2014
26
93
London, United Kingdom
#18
I love reading SK's books for his language and the way he develops the characters. The books really never get hard to read if you also look at the language he uses. The 'laggy' parts are generally redeemed by the way he crafts his words, which just adds to the overall effect of the story he's telling.
I never used to understand when people said storytellers could craft or weave a tale, but SK really succeeded in driving home exactly how a tale should be written.
 

Sunlight Gardener

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2013
369
1,216
#19
This one has grown on me over time. The first time I read it I couldn't decide how much I liked it. The silly language they had between the two of them kind of annoyed me at first but I got used to it. I have listened to it on Audio twice since and really have gotten to like it. Without question my favorite parts are the ones about Scott and Paul's childhood with their Dad and Scott's revelations about it throughout the book. Very haunting. I think Lisey is portrayed as a pretty realistic character.
 
Sep 25, 2016
112
341
42
#20
De
Yeah, I'm going to have to read this one again to read through all the creepy parts about his dad and his brother--I fast forwarded them--I don't like human cruelty--and then why do I read Stephen King---the stories, the characters and mostly FOR THE LANGUAGE.
hi and welcome to the boards, - and if I may offer one peice of advise, Definitely read those parts, it's in them that his gift shows most clearly - the horror of it, others could maybe achieve, but to make the small family unit's odd but compelling love for one another come ringing, Blazing through that abuse and madness, perhaps even possession, took Steve. To understand that, divorced of madness and casual abuse, there existed both a deep self knowledge in which maybe some of the horrible things going on weren't as clearly cut as they at first seem, and a love, twisted as it may be, capable of sacrifice of almost anything to protect each other from the evil/madness that they cannot deny.
 
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