I nearly gave up on this collection of stories during the first one, “1922.” This tale of a farmer who puts his love of the land above everything else was a bit too graphic for my taste (let’s just say there are rats – lots of rats!). His life spirals downward into despair with such unrelenting determination that I just hoped he’d die and be done with it. The other three stories, however, were classic Stephen King.
In “Big Driver,” a write of cozy mysteries finds that she has more strength and will than she ever thought possible. “Fair Extension” portrays the usual “deal with the devil” concept as a man regains his health and tragedy after tragedy befalls his life-long friend. The interesting twist to this tale is the impact this has on the character that has made the deal. King doesn’t rely on the trite traditions of these tales. The final story, “A Good Marriage,” was my favorite. What happens when a wife discovers, after 27 years or marriage, that her husband is not the man she though?
These tales may not have the same strength as some of his earlier short works, but they will keep you turning the pages. Young adult readers who enjoy King’s work will enjoy these works too, although his novels and short stories which feature young people were always the most popular with students in my library. For those worried about challenges, this work does not contain anything not found in previous King publications; there is violence, sex, and the supernatural, but, hey, he’s a horror writer after all.