I know it's been 25 years since this book was published, and being an unapologetic Stephen King fan, I'm ashamed to admit I've never successfully tackled the book until now. I wish I hadn't waited so long. This is truly one of his most "complete" books. For such a thick tome, it unspools with frightening rapidity. I found myself listening not only in my car, but between the ramp where I park and the door of my office. The characters are unforgettable and fully-fleshed. I have only two (very) minor observations:
The 11 and 12 year old children depicted in the novel seem too well-spoken and unusually mature for children of that age. Perhaps I was stunted and thick as a child, but I never spoke like the kids in this book do.
The narrator very precisely and completely reproduces all the nuances of "Stuttering Bill's" dialogue. After a few hours, I found this slightly irritating. It's the sort of thing you'd blast through when actually reading the novel, but you're forced to listen to every syllable in the audibook.
But these are VERY minor quibbles and should not detract anyone from this immensely enjoyable and satisfying book.
The crowning achievement of this audiobook is the narration. Steven Weber is simply phenomonal. I don't think I can point to another reader who does such an admirable job of conveying humor, gravitas, urgency, and outright fear as well as Mr. Weber. I've enjoyed his career as an actor and his narration of this lengthy tome only serves to grow my admiration for him.
If you're a King fan and an audiobook fan, this title is a "Must-Have."
I read this book many years ago, and I don't remember too much about it except that I had an overall negative impression of it. I was a big Stephen King fan at the time, and it was probably the only book of his that I didn't like. So these many years later, I thought I'd give it a second chance in the audible format.
At first I was very pleasantly surprised, I found the first half of the book to be superb. But alas, it wasn't to last. Somewhere along the line, Mr King seems to lose his way almost entirely. It almost seems as if he was being paid by the word, for he indulges in seemingly endless expositions of meaningless details. Scenes and dialogues are repeated over and over, until you just want to hit a fast forward button and get on with it. With a little editing this could be a great book, but as it stands, its probably one of his worst efforts (of his 'classic' period.. I don't even count his latest works, and those 'dark tower' abominations) The narrator is quite good, but some of the dialogue is quite offensive (racist, profane etc) and although you can't blame him for reading what is written, I found some of it a bit hard to stomach.
I'm a technician that does a lot of driving for his job. I use the "windshield" time to listen to audiobooks.
First let me review the performance. Steven Weber does a masterful job of not reading, but telling this story. I can think of only one other narrator that might be better, and that would be Will Patton reading the Dave Robicheiux novels by James Burke, and that's only because I think Will might do female voices better. In the future I will probably add a few books to my wish list based only on the fact that Steven Weber is the narrator, he was that good in this book.
Now to review the story. It's a 44 hour marathon of a story. If it wasn't for King's innate ability to write so well, I can't imagine anyone making it through to the end. If King had slimmed the book down to 20-24 hours, it would have earned 5 stars from me. By hour 40 I was wondering how much longer he could drag this out? Does he get paid by the word? Thankfully he doesn't go into infinite detail like some authors I've read, and the story continues to move forward (and backward, and forward, and backward, and then forward again). I was fortunate and I bought this book on one of Audible's 4.95 sale, so it worked out to $1/8hours of listening. It's probably still a good deal at $15.
The book is excellent in its own right. The fact that it is long just prolongs the enjoyment (as anyone who knows the sadness of finishing a masterpiece can attest). Then, along comes Steven Weber who far exceeds expectations from a narrator. He ranks up there with Scott Brick and George Guidall, to name a few. Brilliant.
Don't think so. Just wasn't that interesting or engaging.
No, but the narration was very good in this audiobook.
Depends on who the actors were.
Author, Audiobook Narrator
There was some great stuff in this book. Huge sections that were awesome. There was also a lot of disgusting stuff, and for me it was way too long. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator Steven Weber couldn't have done a better job. He was phenomenal. But even with amazing narration and some fantastic storytelling, the story at 45 hours was just too long. I picked this novel up because I heard it was kind of like King's novella "The Body." That's the one the movie Stand By Me is based on and it's easily one of my all-time favorite stories. While there is a group of kids who even have a clubhouse like in The Body. The story is much different though and even though there are a lot of things I like about it, overall I wish I would have spent 45 hours listening to a different book.
As usual King does a great job building characters you feel like you know. Each character is very different and has their own little traits you come to love. With all the time he took to tell this story he fleshes out a whole gang of kids and their enemies. Not only the characters as kids, but as adults too. The people they became, and then going back and forth between their story as kids unfolding and their story as adults going back to the place they were as kids. It was an epic tale, but it could have been so without being so epically long.
I was ready for it to be over long before it was over. Part of that might be because I don't like the darker books where king writes about child abuse and spousal abuse. I can only read so much of that stuff and this book had a bit too much of it for my liking. I was really cheering for the characters until near the end. When the gross scene describing what they did as kids happens. That's when I almost put the book down. Instead I skipped through it and finished the rest of the story. The end after that wasn't terrible. I liked the way the story closed out. You get to relive some of the fun things you remember from earlier in the book. "High Ho Silver! Away!" is what I'll say to hint at that. So in closing, were their great moments? Yes. Did King knock it out of the park building believable breathing characters? Yes that's what he's best at. But in the end the story was just too long and too dark for my liking. I know many other readers feel differently about this one, even claiming it as their favorite King book. The other book people claim to be King's best book is The Stand. I will have to read that one soon. For now I'm on to reading one of his newer novel's called Mr. Mercedes. I've really liked all of Kings recent books and so far I'm liking this one. IT is not one I'd recommend, but you don't have to take my word for it.
yeah if you like your reader over emoting every meaningless sentence and spending the entire book talking in a phony childs voice for even adult characters, this guy is for you. I however would punch the guy in the face if I ever saw him for making me listen to so many hours of his inane, suspense-less shrieking
An abridged version.
Goes into details the reader doesn't care about.
I probably wouldn't have finished the book if it weren't for him reading it.
About 50 or 60% of the book.
This book really needs an abridged version. The full story could be told in 10 hours or less. King goes into WAY to much detail. I don't need to know every time a character picks his/her boogers. Just get on with the action.
I haven't read the print version and now I never will. This was the one and only time I'll sit through the book. It was too bizarre and random for me to try again.
I probably won't read any more Stephen King. I love to be scared but this was scary on top of disgusting and vulgar. It'll be a very long time before I might entertain the idea of trying to read another of his books, especially if they follow in the same vain.
I have been watching Steven Weber on the big and small screen since I was a kid. There were many times I could picture his face while doing some of the character voices. He did an okay job for being a screen actor.
No one really. The sooner I forget that I even read this book, the better.
This book is NOT for children and NOT for most adults. Beware that it goes far beyond any dark story you might have read. More often than not it made me uncomfortable to even listen to it. More than once I was ready to stop listening all together and give up on it.
I feel like I will never finish this book. He goes into what I feel that is too much mundane details that cause the chapters to last forever and I don't think it is needed in order to add to the story. I would like to know how it ends, but I don't know if I have the patience, and Audible and the iPhone do not help much, chapter disappear and then I have do download them again, and then when I finish a chapter, the next chapters I have not heard are gone and it starts back on chapters I have already agonizingly listened to. I think some of the problem comes from it being such a long book having so many chapters. Read it as an actual book and not on an audiobooks so you can skip ahead easily and not have to listen to parts twice.