As I sometimes do, I’m going to open myself up to you in a way that may, or may not, resonate. I hope it does, but I know it is probable that detractors will hurl insults my way, as they toss expletives at the master of horror himself. Wish I could state that in so doing I share a common ground with King, but, frankly, I am no more qualified to walk in his shadow as a writer than I am to walk in the shadow of Saint Peter as a Christian.
So, why am I such a fan of Stephen King? I became a fan not due to his fiction. That writing took years of exposure before he won me over. His nonfiction writing, though, went straight to my heart. You see, I am a bit old-fashioned when it comes to fiction and writing. I loved some fiction, such as Old Yeller and Shane, but, my interest always was oriented toward the nonfiction tales by the likes of John Goddard (Go North, Young Man), Eric Collier (Three Against the Wilderness) and Bradford Angier (several books on living off the land).
Then, one day, I read “The Stand.” That book was the culmination of everything I felt a novel should be, written in exactly the right language and flow.
In recent years, King has penned a vast number of tales that tickled that nerve hidden deep inside me. While I enjoyed most all of them, not one of them satisfied that itch deep inside. Until, perhaps, “The Institute.
Once again, King is not the ‘artist’ on par with James Michener or John Steinbeck or F. Scott Fitzgerald. When it comes to plain English writing, especially the sort where the writer stays outside the story and lets his characters get through to us so we can see the world through their eyes, though, no master storyteller comes close to Stephen King, in my humble opinion. So, as you peruse the review below, know that I am prejudiced in favor of Stephen King.
In “The Institute,” we begin our journey in a small village of South Carolina. The opening is a masterful way to tug us along as we get to know a key figure and setting. Later, we meet our protagonist in Minneapolis and still later we get to know him (Luke) in Maine. To expound further would lead to spoilers, which I refuse to do…
BLUSH FACTOR: If you’ve never read a Stephen king book, it might surprise you to learn the master of horror does not write for children or for people whose ears are sensitive to foul language. Yet, I found myself enthralled by yet another novel by one of my favorite authors.
POV: Presented in third person point of view.
WRITING & EDITING: In my opinion, no writer alive today gets into the heads of his subjects and tells their story to us better than does Stephen King. I marvel in considering how perfectly he presents these kids in their own words. I mean, King is in his seventies, how in the world can he so perfectly sound as though he is one of those kids?
As enthralled as I am by this latest offering from Stephen King, it should be obvious I am rating it five stars out of five.