Under the Dome by Stephen King
Publisher/Year: Scribner, 2009
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when — or if — it will go away.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens — town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing — even murder — to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.
What I thought
Man, oh, man–nothing feels as good as reading a new (to me) book by your favorite author. I am honestly at a loss for words, I just loved this THAT much, so here goes nothing. I’m a slow reader & I’ve just recently started back to work, so it did take me a month to get through this mammoth. But it was SO difficult to put down & when I did find myself with a chunk of reading time, I flew through the pages.
For me, where King KILLS it is his characters (both literally & figuratively, I guess). And that was really his purpose with this one. I don’t think the where’s & why’s of the Dome are as important as the people involved. This really was like one giant experiment–what would happen if a small town of people was left completely to its own devices? Would “good” prevail? Or “evil”?
And speaking of evil–King just has this knack for writing excellent villains. I mean, certain characters, like Big Jim Rennie & Carter Thibodeau, actually made my blood pressure rise. I physically felt the urge to strangle them. If that’s not good writing, I don’t know what is. Obviously, the same can be said of the “good guys”–I rooted for them so much it hurt at times. What it comes down to is that this is precisely why I love King so much–I was so invested in these characters’ outcomes, it made a nearly 1100-page read seem effortless.
There are other things I loved about what King did with this story, but I don’t want to go into too much detail or give anything away. I will say things got pretty gory & gruesome at times, but personally, I LOVE the way King does it. Every time I think I’ve seen him at his gnarliest, he never fails to make me cringe & say, “oh…my…GOD!” or “…EW.”
I will also just say this–I really loved the “ants under a magnifying glass” concept & found that it gave the story a good amount of depth. I thought it was a totally thought-provoking idea & I know it will stay on my mind for some time to come.
Overall, I thought this was another fantastic read from King, and I’m kicking myself for the fact that it took me so long to get to it. Under the Dome has certainly landed itself among my favorites!