Saturday, April 30, 2016

UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King



King, Stephen, Under the Dome (Scribner, 1994).

Available in hard cover, paperback, Kindle and Nook.


Reviewed by Kevin Penrod, Jr.

Imagine you lived in a nice small town. Now what would you do if without warning or explanation an invisible barrier appeared around the border? That is exactly what happens to Chesters Mill. A day that started like any other turned into a morning of critters cut in half, car crashes, plane crashes, and "alotta dead birds" as the entire town is, for lack of a better term, sealed off. This book is Mr. King at his best. A thing that I can't even begin to fathom is how one person could come up with so many different characters and keep them straight. He does that and so much more in this novel that I believe will become a classic.

The best way I can describe it is that it is like a roller coaster but instead of going up the giant drop at the beginning, you start at the top and just get thrown in then after all the twists and turns you find yourself at another giant climactic drop at the end. This book will keep you guessing till the very end who (or what) is behind this mysterious dome. As the characters try to find out the same they also deal with corruption and deceit inside the town. Stephen King does great in this book where the scariest part is the people and how they react to the dome and each other.

In this book, being sealed off from the world and whatever has caused this isn't the worst part. The worst part is the people that are sealed inside with you. I say with you because you do feel the terror and emotions of these characters as only Stephen King can make you. If you need a good book to read on a rainy day, or any day for that matter, I recommend you make it this one.


BLOG EDITOR’S NOTE: This review was written early in 2013 and somehow lost in the shuffle. Subsequently, the novel was turned into a television series that ran for three years (39 episodes). Apologies to Kevin Penrod for delaying publication of his review.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

WHAT THE BAYOU SAW by Patti Lacy




Lacy, Patti, What the Bayou Saw (Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, 2009).

Also available on Kindle.



(Fiction)

Reviewed by Dorinda Kauzlarich-Rupe



This is a novel, based on a true story of a forbidden relationship between Sally (a white girl) and Ella (a black girl) in their pre-teens in the Louisiana Bayou area. Historically this was during a period of deep racial disparities, injustice, violence, hatred and fear. 

The book begins in 2005, during Katrina. After four decades as daughter; student; wife; mother; and teacher, Sally Stevens is catapulted back in time by hidden memories, both happy and dark, of the time when she and Ella began their relationship. The lies she told to cover up their friendship activities became habitual and developed into lifelong indulgences which, of course, colored all of her relationships. The story of her relationship with Ella is told as flashbacks to a black student she is homeschooling. 

Lacy is a very creative writer, wonderful at drawing lifelike pictures with words. You feel like you are there in the midst of the action she describes. What the Bayou Saw is a well told and gripping story.

The only thing I don't like about it is the ending which, to me, seems like a fairy tale ending. She has been so honest during the book about relationships, historical behavior, and culture, but then ends on a note that is just too good to be true. There was one big lie she told that never got resolved in the story—maybe that one didn't end on a fairly book note.