Book Review: Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King

Finally made my way through another King book, and let me just say this: It’s better than ‘Carrie’.

I really like King. It’s difficult to say why. He has a way of making every word count, and though that’s not to say he has an incredible tendency to ramble on for pages upon pages, he kind of does it with purpose.

Dolores Claiborne is simply put, about Dolores Claiborne. When we start the book, she’s being questioned for the involvement in her employer’s (rich Mrs. Vera Donovan’s) death. Dolores is very adamant that she doesn’t have anything to do with that. She does however, have another life on her conscience.

This book has the most boring start I’ve ever read. In fact, the first third of the book is terrible. I’ve never been one to put much thought into “you have to hook the reader during the first page” because there are so very many examples of how that just doesn’t happen. If I put away every book that didn’t hook me on the first page, I’d never finish reading anything. Dolores Claiborne is like that. I read and read and read. Terribly dull. Around half way through, I noticed I got caught up in the plot. But I wasn’t necessarily interested because I wanted to figure out about the murders. There was something else, some of that special something King manages to spice up every word with, and that’s what kept me going.

I hated the way this book was told though. Dolores speaks to Andy, Frank and Nancy, who are interrogating her. Except, none of them speak. Ever. Everything’s always through Dolores, and she has to repeat their questions for us to hear them. “How does that work, you ask?” “Well, it works just like this.” See how annoying that is? And how does that even work? What’s the scenario where someone’s telling a story and someone’s listening and asking questions, and you can only hear one side of it? It’s not realistic.

Also, it took me ages to get used to the crazy accent. Personally, I’m against writing out phonetically how people speak. It gets tiring. I’d rather have it explained that a character has a certain accent, instead of trying to read it constantly. And in Dolores Claiborne, it’s all the time.

But like I said, it’s better than ‘Carrie’. When you get past the dull start, it gets really interesting, and it’s not too long like much of what King writes is.

Also, he can really do endings. I read a lot of indie books, and very often the book ends at 90% then just fades out like a dying engine, puttering away. It feels like the author didn’t know what to do after resolving the big climax, but at the same time didn’t want to just abruptly end, so there’s a bit of boring nonsense. Well, King has us going on until the very last page, answering question until the end.

My next King book will be IT, and I can’t wait to crack on with it.

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