The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays, so in honor of this, I will be reviewing (and whole heartedly recommending) one of my favorite novels of all time – Stephen King’s Bag of Bones. Bag of Bones is what I would consider a departure from typical Stephen King books. First and foremost, it’s a love story (it actually has one of my favorite fiction taglines of all time “a haunted love story”, simple, yet perfect). Second, the main characters are all entirely ordinary experiencing extraordinary things. This was the first book I ever stayed up all night reading, finished, then immediately started reading it again (the second book, if you’re curious, was A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving).
Novelist Mike Noonan and his wife Johanna are young, in love, and successful. This abruptly changes when 34 year old Jo dies of an aneurysm while in the parking lot of a drug store. Mike is devastated. For the next four years, Mike is on auto-pilot, he wakes, sleeps, and socializes (limitedly), but he cannot write. He begins to dream of his summer house on Dark Score Lake, a place he hasn’t been since his wife died (and has seemingly been erased from his waking mind), and decides to return to see if that will undo his writer’s block. He returns 4th of July weekend (ha, holiday tie-in! yes, I do realize I just upped the cheesiness factor – don’t judge too harshly) and meets Kyra and her mother Mattie. As he falls for Mattie, he is drawn into her custody battle to keep Kyra from her vindictive grandfather Max Devore. As battle lines are drawn in their small town, Mike learns how deep family legacies run and just how far people will go to ensure revenge is carried out.
Bag of Bones is arguably Stephen King at his best (and yes, several people would argue with me – especially in favor of The Stand). Incidentally, the Bag of Bones miniseries was not a great adaptation of the novel. I like Pierce Brosnan, but Mike is supposed to be in his 30’s, not 60, and he’s supposed to be likeable – Brosnan’s portrayal was not. Bottom line: 5/5 if you’re a Stephen King fan, 4.5/5 if you’re not normally. Either way I’d recommend reading the book and skipping the miniseries. I actually own both the hardcover and the book on disc (Stephen King reads it and it is amazing).
PS: since Kyra and Mike discuss having a breakfast of French toast together, here is my favorite French toast recipe, Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast, it’s nearly divine.