Retro #BookReview: Joyland by Stephen King

A five star favorite.


Joyland by Stephen King, Narrated by Michael Kelly 
Audiobook Review, 7+ Hours
Released June 2013
Amazon ♦ Goodreads
College student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truths about life—and what comes after—that would change his world forever. 

A riveting story about love and loss, about growing up and growing old—and about those who don't get to do either because death comes for them before their time—Joyland is Stephen King at the peak of his storytelling powers. With all of the emotional impact of King masterpieces such as The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, Joyland is at once a mystery, a horror story, and a bittersweet coming-of-age novel, one that will leave even the most hard-boiled reader profoundly moved.


My Thoughts:

I listened to Joyland as an unabridged audio. I love carny tales and this one was a fantastic blend of carny life, murder mystery and coming of age tale all wrapped up with the quirky dialogue and turn of phrase that only Stephen King can deliver.

Set back in the 1970’s, Devin is a college student who accepts summer work at a struggling independent amusement park called Joyland. Joyland’s goal is to spread happiness and joy to children big and small with their doggie mascot, carny games/rides and junk food. This is a park I would LOVE if it really existed because the owner keeps it going out of love not profit. Anyway, during Devin’s summer long run, he makes friends, meets some colorful characters, struggles to solve a decade old murder, perhaps sees a ghost and even saves a life or two all while nursing a broken heart.

I am saying no more about the plot.I loved this book. It’s full of life, love, interesting characters and has so much heart. Devin reminded me of Koontz’s Odd Thomas character in many ways. He’s sensitive and kind and just a very special character that I won’t soon forget. I’ll remember him not for his extraordinary acts (and there are a few) but for his sensitive and sweet nature. He’s just a lovely person, a real sweetheart of a character, and one that you don’t run across often enough in fiction. Be warned though this book will make you cry. But don’t let that put you off. Please don’t let that put you off. It’s a five star read and a book I didn’t want to see come to an end. It’s only a little scary and I really think all of you should read it or listen to the audiobook which is narrated beautifully by Michael Kelly. He imbues Devin with wide eyed optimism, heartbroken emotion and pure joy with just a slight change in his tone. His voice is youthful and fits the character to perfection. He does well the supporting characters too. He was fantastic and brought the book, the sights and the events to life. I couldn’t ask for anything more. For once!

Originally read in 2013

Comments

  1. I loved this book as well when I read it and honestly think a re-read may be in order soon. This would have made a great movie with Anton Yelchin. He would have made a wonderful Devin.

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    Replies
    1. Aww, you are so right :( He would've been perfect in the role.

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  2. How did I moss this one!!!! Now I'm off to Amazon. LOL And I love the pulp look of that cover.

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  3. Once upon a time, I used to collect Pulp Fiction. I still haven't read my copy of this one, though. Sounds good.

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  4. I haven't read this one. It sounds like a good one.

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  5. Replies
    1. Those heartbreaking reads are the ones that seem to stick with me.

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  6. I read this quite a few years ago and enjoyed it as well. Not my favorite SK book, but I appreciated that he wrote something completely different from his normal books.

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    1. I love intense character studies like this that go and break my heart but I could never read a steady diet of them.

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  7. That cover is kind of fantastic, and retro. I didn't realise he did such a carny-like novel!

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  8. This is one of the many recent King novels that I DNFed! I found it slow and dull for my personal tastes. Show me the scary!

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    Replies
    1. You can still be my friend, Chuckles :) But, yeah, this one did not deliver the scary.

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