Sunday, December 16, 2012

WWSKD? (What Would Stephen King Do?)

The Book Depository
Dallas, Texas

It's been a long time since I read a Stephen King novel. But when my mother brought 11/22/63 along on a recent road trip and kept stealing moments to read a few more pages, I was intrigued enough to ask what it was about, and then hooked enough by her description to read it when she was done.

I'm not usually a time-traveler fan. Nor am I that interested in JFK's assassination, since I wasn't even born when it happened. Still, I found King's storyline interesting: his protagonist would travel back in time to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from shooting Kennedy. I immediately wondered why King chose this event as the most pivotal in history to change. I decided it was worth a read.

Again, I don't read many books that include time-travel. It's too much for me to figure out. Even as King started to explain the rules in his time-travel scheme, I was immediately besieged by questions: But what about...? and was thrilled that as soon as my doubting-Thomas skepticism flitted to the surface, King answered my question. And then another question would arise and I thought, But what about...? again, and King answered my unasked question again. I started to trust him and decided to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Stephen King answered every question I thought of. I started to think he could answer anything, and so my friends and I started posing the same question to each other any time we had a quandary. It became our tag line at work: WWSKD?

Little did I know that one author had basically asked just that. After I finished 11/22/63 (which I thoroughly enjoyed), I picked up another book to read: The Speed Queen by one of my favorite authors, Stewart O'Nan. It was totally coincidental that I opened it up and saw that he'd dedicated the book to Stephen King. The reason why immediately became clear.

O'Nan's main character, Marjorie, was a convicted murderer sitting on Death Row, telling her story to Stephen King because he'd bought the rights to her life story. She had a list of questions she was required to answer as part of the deal, and she did -- along with several writing tips and suggestions for King on how he should write her book. I thought that was so clever of O'Nan. It was a bit of humor in an otherwise dark novel. Marjorie had all sorts of writing advice for Stephen King and as I read it, I wondered whether he'd read the book, too, and what he thought of it?

So I started with a book that prompted me to think that Stephen King could answer any conundrum and then followed it with a book about a killer telling him what he should do. It's made for some interesting reading.

Now I'm on to a Gillian Flynn novel. If Stephen King is in this one, too, I'm going to think there's some kind of literary conspiracy that will probably be as hard to prove as the one surrounding the JFK plot that got this whole thing started.


  1. 11/22/63 is on my TBR list. My husband loved it. Now I need to add another book. Thanks for both recommendations!

    1. Certainly my pleasure. They're both such master story tellers. I'd forgotten that.

  2. WHOA, haha, what a funny coincidence about the O'Nan novel! I love how "meta" authors can get with their work. (Stephen King does it too, including himself in his own novels at times.)

    Ooo, are you reading GONE GIRL? I just started it...

    1. Yes! I just started GONE GIRL, too. I like it already. I read DARK PLACES by this same author. It was very dark, and very compelling. I didn't want to put it down.