Jared’s Totally Unsolicited And Completely Subjective Review Of: The Outsider, by Stephen King!
Boy it’s been awhile since I did one of these, hey? Some people have reported their reading increasing exponentially during #quarantine, but mine has ground to a halt. Yet it’s partially to blame on this book! #readonmyfriendlestyouthinkitwasthebookthatmademeslowdownbutthatwasnothecasesisterormister
I actually finished reading it around the second week of March, but then I launched into watching the HBO miniseries, which has since led to several other unintended binge-watch-sessions after a couple years of not watching much of anything. #serieswasfantasticbythewayalittledifferentfromthebookasallseriesarebutistilldiggeditcanyadig #imusingallmyhashtagsuponsuperfluousandextraneoushashtags #butwhenyoureawriteryougottadancewithhowthespiritmovesya
Ok anyway! Shall we get to The Dubious Subjectification of Art Via Stars? Yes we shall.
Background: Normally in this part of the review I have a fun story about how I came to a particular work. Not here, other than I’m on a Mission From God #ÀlaBluesBrothers to read everything Mr. King ever wrote. My last title before this was American Dirt, and while that was my favourite read of the year thus far, it was heavy, and I was looking for pure story #withoutcontroversy (#icannothelpmyselfapparently) to take me away. The Outsider did exactly that.
Synopsis (stolen from Goodreads #whichmayhavetakenitfromthedustjacketireallydontknowbecauseireturnedthelibrarycopybeforearmageddonhappened): “An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.
“An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.
“As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.” YAH YOU GO GOODREADS AND/OR DUST JACKET WHICHEVER DID IT FIRST.
So what did I think?: As per previous sentences above, but because I also apparently work in the #departmentofredundancydepartment, I’ll reiterate: I enjoyed it cover to cover. Yes, the macabre element is unsettling, but by now I’m both used to it with King, but strangely enough I don’t consider him a “horror” writer, nor do I consider this book of that genre (that’s a highly-subjective take, I know–a newcomer to King who read this book and then read my sentence just now would probably have me committed). He’s just a damned good storyteller–that’s all I see/read. And every now and again he flirts with truly beautiful narrative, and both keep me coming back for more. This tome was more of the former than the latter, but the story gripped me from start to finish, and that’s always enough.
#bonusfastreviewoftheHBOminiseries: Because I clearly hadn’t written enough already, yes? I was very, very surprised at how faithful the miniseries stayed to the book, at least in the first couple episodes. From there it started to diverge, but even there I enjoyed the added or different elements. Well done, Ben Mendelsohn & Co. Definitely worth a watch (but read it first!).