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Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King Hardcover – January 6, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312377320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312377328
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #786,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Though critical studies of his vast oeuvre abound, King—the bestselling author of the 20th century—has not been the subject of a book-length biography until this strictly serviceable study. Rogak (The Man Behind The Da Vinci Code) doesn't probe her subject or his work too deeply. Rather, she strings together the best-known facts of his life with workmanlike efficiency: his family's early abandonment by his father; the author's triumph over an impoverished childhood; his perseverance and prolificacy as a writer; his determination, despite his comfort with genre fiction, to be regarded as more than a horror writer; his struggles with alcohol and drugs; his generosity toward other writers; the accident that nearly killed him in 1999. Rogak structures her text primarily around the chronology of King's scores of books and their film adaptations. Though she interviewed some of King's friends and colleagues, much of the book is derived from secondary sources. Her text is repetitive and cliché-ridden, but the facts she marshals will serve King fans not familiar with his life. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Jan.)
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Review

Praise for A Boy Named Shel:

"Consulting many sources, among them Silverstein's friends; radio interviews; and newspaper, journal, and magazine articles, Rogak thoughtfully reconstructs the artist's life. ... An authoritative and accessible biography, absorbing from cover to cover."--Library Journal

"[A BOY NAMED SHEL] offers revealing anecdotes, complete with some dirty laundry, about the prolific children’s author and cartoonist."--Kirkus Reviews

"The strength of this biography is in leading readers back to Silverstein’s art, which is, after all, where he would have us find him."--School Library Journal

"Fascinating...A BOY NAMED SHEL is a revealing peak into the mind behind both 'Runny Babbit' and 'Freakin' at the Freakers Ball.'" --Albany Times Union

"A tribute to the unusual life of an extraordinary man."--The Daily Texan

"Lisa Rogak dives wholeheartedly into presenting the full story of media-shy Silverstein. She covers every step in his creative career, following his journey across media. Silverstein proved himself as a songwriter, a cartoonist, an author, a poet, a playwright and a screenwriter, and Rogak doesn’t miss a beat."--The Daily Californian

"Faithfully following Silverstein on his wandering and tracing his deft compartmentalizing, Rogak lifts the curtain, respectfully, on this cultural icon." --GO (AirTran Airways Inflight Magazine)

More About the Author

I'm an independent journalist going on more than 30 years as a full-time writer, a fact that surprises even me! In that time, I've written about everything from high-tech and cats to food and travel.

Writing has provided me with a fascinating, adventurous life. I wake up each morning looking forward to discovering what new things I'll learn that day. After all this time, it never ceases to amaze me that I have been able to make my living by indulging my curiosity and asking total strangers really nosy questions...

My latest books include Dogs of Courage: The Heroism and Heart of Working Dogs Around the World, Dan Brown: The Unauthorized Biography, and Pope Francis in His Own Words.

After spending a year traveling around the world as a full-time vagabond, I now split my time between New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Customer Reviews

Never read it either, which is rare!
A. Watkins
I have read a couple of books about Stephen Kings work, and I read his non-fiction book ON WRITING, and I still found this to be a delightful read.
Tommy Walters
It's repetitious, could have used one more proofread, and I found it a little depressing.
JoeNoir

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By D. D. Montee on February 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Although there's some interesting anecdotal material here (however little that is really new), I was shocked at the clear lack of editing and proofreading in a book published by an established house like St. Martin's. A few examples: "And so, the general shape of Stephen King's life and creative gifts were (sic) cast" (p. 25). "A flurry of movies based on his books followed that fall, including GRAVEYARD SHIFT and IT" (p.132)--the Fall in question is 1984, and IT wasn't published in book form until 1986. But the worst aspect for the reader to wade through is the repetitiveness of the prose: for example, "Steve and Tabby had fallen into a comfortable rhythm of spending half the year in Maine and the other half in Florida" (p. 219); and then, less than 10 pages later: "As 2005 began, Steve and Tabby had fallen into a comfortable rhythm of spending half the year in Maine and the other half in Florida" (p. 226). It's a shame that so little care seems to have been spent by author, editors, or copyreaders on a book about a major author by a reputable publishing house priced at $25.95. Take the money and run, I suppose, and Mr. King (whose work and life deserves a more considered and considerate approach than is evident here) is exploited once again.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sam Sattler on February 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In "Haunted Heart," her unauthorized Stephen King biography, Lisa Rogak presents a straightforward look into the major events of King's life, from his birth into an impoverished family to the multi-millionaire lifestyle he lives today. And despite how heavily the book depends on secondary sources, and all the media attention given to King for more than three decades now, even passionate Stephen King followers should come away from it with a better understanding of the man.

Any potential revelations in the book originate in Rogak's speculation about how King's childhood shaped him into the writer, and the man, he is today, not from the well-known facts about his youth and his career. Stephen King does not remember his father, a man who, as the story goes, went down to the corner one evening for a pack of cigarettes and never returned. King's mother never remarried and it was only by working multiple jobs when they came her way, and with substantial help from her sisters, that she was able to keep Steve and his brother together.

The resulting insecurity King felt as a child convinced him that the world is a dangerous place filled with countless scary things wholly deserving his fear. He admits that he fears most of them and that the only way he can escape those fears, even temporarily, is to write about them - something for which his fans should be grateful.

Rogak describes the depth of King's addiction to drugs and alcohol in great detail. However, the surprising thing is not King's alcoholism or past drug use, neither of which is much of a secret these days. Rather, the surprise is how productive King was during even the worst years of his addictions.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kelly K. Patterson on May 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is a lame lazy retread of the most common King info. If you read King's own book 'On Writing' you got all the information in nearly the exact same sentence structures as in this book certainly concerning his childhood and early writing career. Seriously, she copies it nearly verbatim. This is followed by her "discussions" of his books and writings and this is pedestrian at best and sophomoric summaries of book jacket summaries at best. A complete waste of money ... a complete waste of time ... it's a shame trees died for this to be published
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on February 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
My first introduction to Stephen King was SALEM'S LOT, which I read in the mid-1970s while my husband worked nights and our children were fast asleep. At that time, although I had to wake up at 6:00 to get ready for work, the story kept me up reading all night. It both fascinated and frightened me; I was too fascinated to quit turning the pages and too frightened to close my eyes. Since then, I've been a fan of King's and have read most of his novels as well as his memoir of the craft, ON WRITING.

HAUNTED HEART by Lisa Rogak portrays King's life and times in a conversational tone and voice, yet in a thorough and convincing manner. The book includes facts, anecdotes, interviews, quotes, several photos and a timeline. Some of the information here are already known from news stories, magazine articles or other sources. Much of it, however, is new --- at least to me --- and I suspect to others as well.

What sets this unauthorized biography apart is that Stephen King, the man and writer, is examined in the context of his times: a child raised by a single mother during the 1950s; a college student and protestor during the Vietnam era; a young father, husband and struggling writer working menial jobs in the early 1970s; a prolific and highly paid writer beginning in the mid-1970s; a generous benefactor; a loyal Red Sox fan since his childhood; a rehabilitated abuser of alcohol and drugs; a victim of a near-fatal accident at the turn of the century; a devoted husband for nearly four decades; and a proud father and grandfather.

The chapter titles, which are also the names of some of King's works, give clues as to the narrative that follows. For example, Chapter 1, "Apt Pupil," covers King's early childhood and formative years.
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