Reviewed: “Joyland” by Stephen King

JoylandI can now officially say that I’ve finished my fourth Stephen King, although Joyland is hardly standard King fare. It’s short, it’s “light”, and it’s easy.

But it’s just as good, if not better, maybe obviously, than some of the other King books I’ve tried and failed to read.

Joyland is set in an early 1970s carnival in North Carolina, i.e. not in Maine like most King books although the main character is from Maine, and it’s the story of Devin Jones getting his heart broken by the girl he loves more than she loves him. He flees south to a carnival because that’s the last thing anyone would expect him to do and tries to fit in with the wacky cast of characters there. The owner resembles a vampire, the man who runs the haunted horror house is creepy, a lady from Brooklyn puts on a fake accent and pretends to tell futures, and the carnival hires a bevy of twenty-somethings to dress up in skimpy dresses and take photos, the girls, and run rides and dress up as the hound dog mascot, the boys.

Devin takes a room at a boarding house and quickly hears the story of the girl murdered at the park who still haunts the house of horrors, and I use lower case there because I think there was a catchier name for it in the book and I can’t remember it.

Intrigued but not obsessed, he sets out to just try and enjoy his summer while he gets over the one that got away.

Only people aren’t who they seem. Not his co-workers and not the sick little bore and his single mother he meets and befriends on the boardwalk.

The book has love stories, hauntings, murders, “sightings”, friendships, and humanity.

I read it in a week and a I loved every bit of it.

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