Under the Dome by Stephen King: Book Review

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Cover of Under the Dome

4 Stars

A giant dome suddenly appears over the town of Chester’s Mill, Maine one beautiful October day, and the townspeople are left to their own devices.

That’s a lame synopsis, but I don’t want to give anything more away.

What would you do if you were cut off from the rest of the world? Perhaps more importantly–what would your neighbors do? Would everyone pitch in together to get through the crisis the best way they could? Would everything dissolve into complete anarchy?

What would you do?

As I read this, I kept mentally comparing it to Lord of the Flies, which I hated. I hated almost everything I had to read for class though, so I don’t know what that says. Anyway, as I recall, in Lord of the Flies, the boys run wild and only bad things happen and I’m supposed to buy that that’s the way people in general would act if all authority and rules disappeared. I can’t buy it. I just can’t. Call me a deluded optimist if you want. Oh, I’ll give you that some people will get up to nasty things. But there will always be people who do the best they can, for themselves and their neighbors.

And that’s what Stephen King got right here.

Sure, it is what it is and a lot of terrible things happen. But there is also a core group of good people. I loved them and I loved King for creating them. There was Barbie (a man), who might have been a little too good to be believable, but I still liked him. There was Julia, who never backed down. There was Piper, struggling with her faith, but still trying to minister to people’s emotional needs. There was Andrea. I respected the hell out of that woman. And then there was Rusty. Rusty somehow became my husband in my head. I could see Luis just shining right through the guy, so of course I loved him too.

And then there was Big Jim Rennie and his son, Junior. I loathed Big Jim within about 3/4 of a page of meeting him. It was obvious I was going to dislike him right from the start, but I was impressed with how quickly King got such a strong reaction out of me.

It got knocked down a star mostly because I thought a merciless editor could have cut quite a bit off the 1027 page count. Some sections, like the immediate aftermath of the Dome plopping down, just got a little too long. It all added to the suspense, but I still wanted to tell King, “Enough! I got it. Let’s move on already.” Most die hard fans will disagree with me, but there it is.

This is such a little thing that I hesitate to even mention it, but here it is. I wish that Twitch, the ambulance guy, had been a paramedic rather than a nurse. My husband is a medic, and let me tell you, they are under-appreciated and underpaid, at least where we live. Every little bit of publicity has got to help, so I wish that King had helped them out a little. There’s a whole gigantic soapbox I could get on, but I’ll leave it at that.

Mostly though, this was just a great book that started off with a bang and didn’t really let up. I thought it would take me forever to read this beast, but I got through it in about four days. Don’t let the size intimidate you. If you’re interested, pick it up and buckle up for the ride.

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  1. I haven't read Firestarter.

    I'm always a little embarrassed to admit that I hated a classic, so I'm glad when others share my reaction. Thanks!

    Epic is a great word for this, which is odd considering that it takes place in such a small area and in a pretty short timeframe. If it sounds interesting to you, I do recommend it. It doesn't have all the horror stuff that most people associate with King, and there are surprisingly few things that couldn't happen in the real world. The dome is the big thing, but once you get past that, it's mostly just watching what these characters do. It is King though, so there have to be a few paranormal-type things! 😉

  2. It pains me to admit that I've only read only book by Stephen King, and that was Firestarter, when I was much younger. I've been wanting to read King for SO long, especially since one of my friends has read almost everything he's written and just loves him. This looks so EPIC! I hated Lord of the Flies too, and I hadn't read it until college.

  3. Great review. I have this one on my Kindle, and although I have not read S. King in a long while, this one seemed to appeal to my curiosity. Glad u enjoyed it!

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