Go on a ride with Stephen King’s Joyland

Photo from Titan Books

Photo from Titan Books

Joyland is my first Stephen King novel.

What?! No! Really?! Yes, it is true. King is one of most prolific writers but it was only recently that I finished reading one of his works. The main reason I haven’t read his novels before is because his name is synonymous with horror. When I think of King, I immediately imagine The Shining, Misery, and Carrie. I am not a fan of horror so you can imagine my trepidation, however, King is an author of fantasy and crime as well. His latest novel, Joyland, falls under these categories.

Joyland tells the story of a brokenhearted, college student, Devin Jones, working at a carnival in North Carolina. The carnival is appropriately named Joyland, however, the festive atmosphere in no way reflects the emotional upheaval Jones experiences after breaking up with his girlfriend. The heartbreaker, Wendy Keegan, haunts Jones all summer like Linda Gray’s ghost haunts Joyland’s only dark ride, the Horror House. Luckily, both ghosts are set free.

Jones becomes immersed in the carny lifestyle that summer of 1973. He learns to operate the rides and speak their language. Most importantly, he learns to sell fun. He sells fun to Joyland’s patrons and later, two special people who help him move forward in life. I was especially drawn to this underlying theme in King’s novel. Both the book and carnival of the same name are intended to entertain. I read books and watch films to enter a different world and have fun. I become attached to characters and my emotions are thrown around like a rag doll at times, but I discover and learn in the process. It’s a safe ride. The rides differ from each other like those in Joyland. Some are fast and thrilling, some are terrifying, and others are slow and peaceful, but they all hope to amuse. This sentiment is not lost on King. He is a master storyteller, crafting his stories with vivid descriptions to provide his audience with the best ride. Readers will tag along with Jones as he lives the carny life in Joyland and be reminded of the fun readers and carnivals goers experience.

Joyland was released by Titan Books

-Mary

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Posted on June 12, 2013, in Books and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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