Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Review of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King - My Favorite Selections

Since childhood, Stephen King has propelled my imagination to foreign places, delivering horrors that keep on giving. If you are like me, you have a lifelong relationship with Mr. King...well, at least with his stories. Granted, few can say they actually know him, but I am okay with being one of his constant readers as long as he keeps writing. 

I find it comforting that even with all his accolades, King states that he is an amateur. In his opinion, writing is something all writers can consistently improve on. A story is never truly finished as long as the author is alive and eager to perfect his/her art. I'll try to keep that in mind whenever I'm working on a story that has me on the ropes in a choke-hold.

So he's at it again...

The title alone and accompanying artwork is enough to invite me in and once I'm there, his stories carve into my subconscious, navigating  busy junctures, leading me into a boondocks of endless possibilities. This time he's taking me/us on a bazaar of bad dreams. I have no expectations and yet, I playfully whisper, surprise me

Mile 81

For the record, I'm not a fan of driving on the highway, the concrete dividers inspire nightmares in and of itself.  At times, it can be a scary place; even when you're at the wheel. All it takes is one wrong move by you or a distracted driver and anything, everything can go wrong. If the odds are in your favor,  you walk away with minor abrasions or you're carved into by carnivorous metal that somehow graduated with a PhD in Creative Butchery in a matter of a millisecond.

In Mile 81 we're introduced to various characters that vie for our attention. I have a healthy imagination, but the story didn't seize my fear. Christine had teeth; the antagonist in Mile 81... Well, I'll let you decide for yourself. The characters, specifically the teenagers were interesting, but with short stories, it's hard to get to know the characters, much less care about what happens to them.  I started to care when Rachel and Blakey came into the story line.

To his credit, King delivers jokes you can enjoy for years to come. Often, it comes to mind when you’re trying to get a joke or jab in. That's why I read his stories; he keeps me entertained even when I don't particularly like a story.

Premium Harmony

Life can become redundant for couples and even more so when they’ve been together for 37 years. Still, I enjoyed the depth of the couple’s interaction in this story. Ray and Mary spend most of their time disagreeing than loving  and appreciating each other until the couple goes for a ride and stop to pick up a treat for their niece in a dilapidated part of town.

Life is strange like that; one minute you’re going toe to toe and the next, you're staring at the mirror wondering if it was all a dream. I like this story the most. It just goes to show you that sometimes getting a good scare is not necessarily the best form of entertainment; being able to sit back, and appreciate the deeper meaning of a story can be equally gratifying.

So, what's the verdict?

This collection did  not inspire bad dreams, but if you are a fan of King's body of work give it a try. 

Either way, I enjoyed the book and I think you will too. 

"There are times when life is shorter than a waltz, so dancedamn it, dance!" - Mila A. Ballentine

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