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The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is one of the strangest of Stephen Kings' books. He moves away from the normal type of horror that he has become well known for as this on the face of it is a real fear rather than a supernatural one.
While she is walking in the woods with her family, Trisha becomes separated from her mother and brother, as she has become tired of hearing them arguing but she falls too far behind and soon realises that she does not know where they are, or even where she is.
In an attempt to find them she wanders deeper and deeper into the woods soon having to accept that she is lost and falling prey to a number of dreams and hallucinations. Soon days have passed and she not only has no idea where she is and is slowly losing a grip on reality, but does not even know if there are still people looking for her.
The thing that stays in her mind is the thought of Tom Gordon who is her favourite baseball player. He is in her thoughts most of the time and on occasions she thinks he can see him.
It's hard to tell how this book will end. The idea of a 9 year old girl dying alone in the woods seems unthinkable, but what sort of horror story will it be with a happy ending? The only way I was able to find out was to carry in to the end, and at times this was not a totally enjoyable experience.
This is probably the one book of Stephen Kings that I will not read again. It is not easy to read and when describing the journey Trisha makes into the woods it can be repetitive. I don't remember a lot about when I was 9 but again I found the ideas and feelings that she had where strange for a child of her age.
It is also hard to tell what is happening to Trisha. An event will happen and it will be put down to her being tired, thirsty and hungry so hallucinating, then the next minute the implication is that there is something supernatural involved. There are some likenesses to stories of supernatural beings from various cultures, but it is not clear if this is intentional or purely coincidence.
One to read if you like something different but only 3 stars from me. It is also a lot shorter than some of his other novels - at 200 pages it is much shorter than most, and I sometimes wonder if he got bored as well.
Stephen King. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. First published in 1999. Hodder Paperbacks, pp. 226. # ISBN-10: 0340952385
# ISBN-13: 978-0340952382
Amazon price: £4.98
The plot is really simple. Trisha McFarland is a 9 year-old girl whose parents are divorced. Hurt by the continuous fights of her mother with her brother, Trisha leaves the track and gets lost in the woods. The only things that keep her going are her walkman and her love for Red Sox baseball games, especially for the player Tom Gordon. Will she manage to survive?
This is a thin book printed on low quality paper, and the full price of 7.99 is too high in my opinion. I am a Stephen King fan and I've read and enjoyed many of his books but I think that unfortunately this is the worst
I've read so far.
It is supposed to be a survival psychological thriller, where only one character is found isolated in a terrible battle for survival. This is a recurrent theme for King and he has used it in "Gerald's Game" with incredible success. However, in "Gerald's Game", he managed to make us suffer together with the main character, relate to her, and the narration was getting exciting as nightmares from the past came to haunt her and taunt her.
I thought that "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" would be the same, and that Trisha being lost in the woods would be the excuse for the writer to unveil terrible secrets of her past and present and to introduce paranormal fear factors. Alas, nothing like it. The story is so simple that it could have made a nice short tale, but in order to fill 220 pages, it has loads of repetitions and I found it very boring. I was surprised that King did not follow his usual method of developing more characters and simultaneously narrating what they felt and did, e.g. I would be interested to know more of her parents and the search by the police.
This brings us to the second major flaw: despite the repetitions in the descriptions and the narration, the main character, i.e. Trisha, remains one-dimensional. This is very unlike King, whose strong card is the ability to create "real characters", and it meant that in this case I could not relate to Trisha and did not care much whether she survived or not. The appearance of a paranormal factor was very weak as well. In addition, Trisha, at least in my opinion, behaved more like a 13-14 year-old than a 9 year-old, and during the narration this is kind of confusing, as many of her thoughts and decisions are not very believable for her given age, and all this contributes into making the reader not to be able to relate to her psychologically.
Up until p. 81 all that happens is a repeated description of the woods. We must get to p. 141 to get some action. So, I'd say skip the first parts and only read the last 3-4 chapters.
Thsi was definetly not the best book that I have read by Stephen King. It is kind of dragged out, and probably not worth your time. If you are a Stephen King freak like me, you'll want more excitement from this book. It falls around a girl who gets lost in the woods. While the story is more intense and gripping than it may sound, it still lacks a big plot like most books. First, the girl gets lost and she sees visions of freaky things while she's there in the woods. Then at the end, of course it's just her falling asleep, fine at the hospital after unbelievanly surviving the harsh conditions in the woods. Instead of reaching for this one on the shelf, I'd reach for a better Stephen King classic, like It or Duma Key or the Green Mile. The book is entertaining, but not as good as some other Stephen King books.
When on holiday in Sweden I offer only one piece of advice - do not venture off the path. In the UK we have many clumps of trees that we have the tenacity to call forests. Sweden's forests mock our forests and call them twigs! In Sweden the tree line is incredibly dense and you lose sight of the path only metres in. This is what happened to my little sister and I when we decided to hide from our parents. We waited 10 minutes for them to walk past so that we could jump out - but they never came past. Being well behaved brats we retraced our steps and waited by the car. Some 30 minutes later my parents turned up out of breath and panicking. They had run all around the lake looking for us thinking we were lost. Let's just say I received a severe talking to that day and did not try to hide from my parents again for a while. It's all too easy for a kid to get lost in dense woodland as the heroine of Stephen King's book found out to her cost.
Trisha is the youngest of two from a recently separated family. She now lives with her brother and mother in Maine. Every weekend her mother tries to take her children's minds off the divorce by taking part in activities. One such activity is walking through the Maine forests and it is here that Trisha gets lost. With only a backpack to help her Trisha is alone in the woods and no idea where to go. The natural hazards are hard enough, but the intense weather and lack of food and sleep means that Trisha is hallucinating - or is she? A monster is after her and only the friendship of her favourite baseball player Tom Gordon can help. Will Trisha escape the woods?
I am not a fan of Stephen King's work since 1990 onwards as I believe his success has led to an increase in page numbers and vanity projects. However, as this was a relatively short book I thought I would give it a chance and to an extent I am glad that I did. This is not really a horror book as such as it is the natural terror of being lost in the woods that the book centres on. When King does concentrate in the survival aspects the book peaks with some good adventure elements. However, it seems to me that King felt it necessary to crowbar in supernatural elements to appease his audience, all these sections detract from the story and feel false.
I also had mixed feeling about King's representation of the little girl. I really liked Trisha as a character; she was interesting, intelligent and entertaining. In fact she was too much of these things. Time and time again I felt that she was a little girl that spoke in an older girl's voice. She is far too worldly wise to be thinking what she does and to have become caught in the situation she did. King's own voice is far too strong in Trisha's character and although I liked her, she did not represent any 9 year old that actually exists. What is interesting about the book is the dominance that Trisha has over it. Unlike in most books there is only really one person of note as it concentrates almost solely on her. I found this an interesting experiment, but it does mean that the opportunity to involve the worried family is missed.
The final major element is the idea of hallucinations and the introduction of the Tom Gordon character. I am somewhat of a fan of American pop culture, but I had misgivings how a series of baseball analogies would work with a European audience. I believe that many people will struggle with this book just because it relies so heavily on the idea of baseball and how it affects people. Personally, I did not find this myself, but I did notice that the baseball segments were a little dull.
Despite the baseball and supernatural elements there is still the core of a good novel here. All the superfluous moments are not able to disguise the fact that this book is really about one small child trying to survive the harshest of elements. I enjoyed the book when King kept it simple, but the straight forward nature means it feels more like a novella than anything else. Overall, it was something a little different from what I usually read, but this is not always a good thing. I enjoyed the book whilst it lasted, but I doubt it will have any lasting appeal for me.
Author: Stephen King
Price: amazon uk - £5.99
play.com - £5.99
Being a younger child I found myself relating to Trisha. She is a young girl, constantly ignored my her mother as she seems only interested in her older brothers problems.
Well, she has had it. And on a family walk, where once again she is roundly ignored, she stops to pee without telling anyone. Here she makes a terrible mistake. Instead of retracing her steps she thinks she can just cut through the trees back to the path.
She is lost.
Some of my favorite works by King are the ones that include essentially one character .. left to their thoughts. It is similar to Gerald's Game. Trisha's only companion is solely in her head, her hero Tom Gordon, that is until she realizes something is following her.
This is a really good read, you can't help cheering Trisha on when she makes a good move, and f when something goes wrong.
Powerful. Well written. Scary. Believable.
Trisha has had enough. On yet another rambling holiday with her mum and brother all she can hear is them bickering about her dad. Walking along a nature trail Trisha starts to drop further and further behind and when she stops for a toilet break in the woods manages to lose them altogether. Good, she thinks. Unfortunately, as she tries to find her way back to the trail she ends up disorientated and deep in the woods. With no sign of the trail and only a stream to guide her Trisha starts to see horrific visions in the deep, disquiet of the woods. Are they part of her imagination or is the creature she imagines stalking her real? Good job she has her companion Baseball player Tom Gordon to comfort her.
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a cracking horror/thriller by Stephen King. King takes the old Brothers Grimm style fairytale of the child lost in the woods to a new level in this desperate tale of a young girls attempts at survival. As a horror novel King plays on our most primal fears, those of the dark and isolation to create a despairing tale of a girl helpless in the woods. Her stumbling journey through the woods is an altogether disturbing as King describe mosquitoes as blood sucking parasites feeding on her eyelids while she sleeps. The presence Trisha feels throughout the novel is a foreboding one and provides create tension in its cat and mouse toying and watching of Trisha. We do not know if it is monster or human yet we fear it and in turn for for Trisha.
This is one of few King novels were we truly empathise with the heroine. Who could not feel for Trisha, the scared child lost in the woods? By using a child as the central character who drives the novel he also plays on my own worst fear as a parent, that of losing your child and being able to do nothing to help them. The fact that in many respects this is the parents fault only adds to the anguish. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a pacey, nervous read. Throughout the novel days pass quickly being all too short before the onset of the dangerous night (another fear played up tremendously by King).
At times disturbing, this is a novel were the awaiting fear of the thing in the woods is coupled with the simple plights of hunger, thirst and disease. As Trisha drinks foul water and is treated to vomiting and diarrhoea I urge for her rescue yet know her saviour it is not forthcoming. There is but one ray of hope. Trisha's hallucinatory visions of Baseball pitcher Tom Gordon along with her escapism while listening to the Red Sox game son her walkman provides a sense of hope, advice and lends Trisha the perseverance to blunder on.
This is a novel that has you willing Trisha on. With her being the only character for the majority of the novel King has to make sure we empathise and pity her and as she stumble into thorns and wasps nests his torture of her works perfectly in ensuring I root for her from the start. The imagery of the dark woods in their ominous twilight along with the muddy bogs and thorny bracken Trisha must negotiate seem to stack the impossibility of her escape against her yet for some reason you always feel a sense of hope.
This is a pacey, gut wrenching novel akin to the dark tales of the Bogeyman you were told as a kid. King mixes a If you go down to the woods today theme with horrific visions to create a modern nightmare of a fairytale in which all you want to do is wake up. At times Trisha's plight is almost too disturbing to read on yet ,like any good horror novel you just have to know what happens next.
At 224 pages this is a short, action packed novel the likes of which King rarely produces nowadays. The simplistic, childlike descriptions largely add to the dangerous atmosphere of the novel and this is a novel you will finish quickly just to see if the heroine survives her ordeal. Every horror fan should read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon as it is an excellent example of suspenseful horror that chooses to rely on tension rather than gore and is all the better for it. Survival horror as it should be done.
£3.99 in paperback at amazon.uk
First question - who is Tom Gordon? He is a baseball player who closes for the Boston Red Sox, so in the U.K he is almost completely unknown. Unsurprisingly, Stephen King's novel is not based around a baseball season, but a young girls desperate struggle for survival. Trisha McFarland is off on a day-trip to the woods with her mother and brother. The two are arguing as usual due to the mother and father breaking up and having to move to a new area. Trisha has had enough and so leaves the trail momentairily to have a break from the endless bickering, but as she tries to rejoin the trail, she manages to get lost in the woods. What follows is a tough battle for survival against a variety of nasty obstacles. As Trisha wonders further away from the perimeter of search and rescue parties, she has to survive in the wild on her own by scrounging for food and water, plus creating a suitable shelter at night. As time passes and hope of a rescue all but diminishes completely, Trisha's last remaining motivation is listening to her walkman - Red Sox games and especially for her hero Tom Gordon. The joker in the pack comes in the form of an entity that appears to watch her while she sleeps at night, leaving its mark on nearby woodland by tearing down trees and mutilating animals. It seems only a matter of time before it goes for the girl. 'The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon' is pretty unique among Stephen King's novels for a couple of reasons - firstly, Trisha is essentially the only real character in the whole story, others appear only very briefly or are a figment of her imagenation. The story tracks the movements of Trisha through the woods in the thrid-person, mainly. King had written and elderly man in to the lead role in 1994's 'Insomnia', and a couple of books later does the exact opposite - Trisha being a nine year-old girl. A great deal of focus is put on her and her thoughts but she proves to be a likable character t
hat is for the most part, pretty convincing in her innocence. On the whole, 'The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon' is a decent and enjoyable read. It is just short of three hundred pages and though this is quite short compared with other King books, it isn't really noticable and doesn't hamper the story. Trisha's defenceless appearance and rapidly declining health plus the feeling she is being watched add considerably to the tense atmosphere that runs throughout. On the downside, the ending seems a little short considering the almost epic nature of the adventure leading up to it, the final 'showdown' falls short of expectations and there are inevitably some questions left unanswered. This isn't King in full flight but is a real page-turner, with a spooky atmosphere, an interesting setting and an unlikely central hero. Well worth investigating.
The Girl who loved Tom Gordon is a novel with a simple concept and plot structure really. King gives us a little girl, Patricia McFarland, and throws her into the middle of the bleak wilderness and examines how she fares in such an alien environment. What is most interesting about this novel (and most of Kings more modern-day novels) is that there is an investigation of languague going on , rather than the past concentration of shock-tactics that King so loves and was revered for. King sticks to a pretty simple plot throughout the entire story and i believe that his examination of the human determination for survival may come in the wake of his own near brush with death(that being, nearly killed by a truck)and that Patricia may be a personification of this. The prose is magnificent throughout, quite captivating and with none of the coloquial messiness that King uses quite alot in previous novels. The book is not as what King fans may first expect, there seems to be a preference in King now to concentrate more on the prose than story and although this is in sacrifice of actual horror...i don't really believe that King was much of a horror writer to begin with. He actually felt himself, in first beginning to write, that he was going to be labelled as a horror writer and that he would prefer to avoid this. Stories such as Different Seasons, The Green Mile and maybe the somewhat ecletic mixture of fantasy and western adventure of The Dark Tower are vents for King to release from himself the real feelings that he has, rather than following what is expected of him as a horror writer. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a great example of Kings real ability in writing and maybe the powers of all-round story-telling that he has. Or maybe i could be entirely wrong and that this novel is merely a productional item, rather than heart-felt...one must admit that King's out-pouring of books has slowed down considerably in recent years and this has been
much to the complaining of fans, especially the Dark Tower fans. Nevertheless, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, is a great read and contains a fascinating story of survival and the sudden changing of a childs view on the world. Quite short, but a time-waster nonetheless. A good read.
This book left me with mixed feelings. I enjoyed the story, but it was short. There was less of that Stephen King gorriness than usual, leading me to believe this was meant to be for young readers or even children. I feel that this book would have been better had King spent more time with it, but it seems he was rushed to get it over with. The story is that a girl gets separated from her mother and brother on a hiking nature trip and learns a lot about herself. She has an imaginary friend and lots of imaginary enemies. For her age, she should be traumatized from what happens to her, but somehow she isn't. This is one of the few UNrealistic characters I've ever seen in a King book. I am disappointed by it, although I love King's books. I would recommend this book to YOUNG readers who are curious about Stephen King. If they read this and feel it's too scary, they definitely do NOT need to read his other works, which are MUCH better than "Tom Gordon."
As a very avid reader and a big fan of Stephen King, I had to read "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" as soon as it came out. I must say that I didn't expect it to be my type of book. Firstly, it is a very short book so I didn't really expect it to contain such a "big" story. And boy was I surprised. Although it wasn't full of horror and blood and guts like a lot of his books, it was quite thrilling and captivating. It's about a nine year old girl named Trisha who goes for a hike in the woods with her mother and brother. While her mother and brother are arguing, Trisha decides to step off the trail for a bathroom break. Soon she realized that her mother and brother hadn't even noticed she was gone and had continued on with the hike. So she decides to take a short cut to reach them. This is where the story really gets going. Within minutes Trishes realizes that she's lost and all on her own. She continues walking, trying to find a way to her mother and soon begins to feel as if something is watching her. Needless to say, she doesn't quickly find her way (I said it was short, but it isn't that short!). We follow her journey through the woods as she so desperatley tries to find a way out before she dies. All this doesn't take place in a day so we walk with Trisha as she tries to find food, water, a place to sleep, and her way out. When she finds food and water, she rations them, limiting herself to only what is absolutely necessary for her survival. Although she is only nine she realizes the terrible danger she is in. She knows she might be there for days or even forever. Her only friend throughout this terrible ordeal is Tom Gordon the baseball player. She has a walkman and listens to his games on the radio until her batteries die. Tom himself then joins her on her voyage. This offers her some comfort as she still feels as if something is tracking her. N
ow I won't say anything else for fear of giving away too much. I will add, however, that it is a very powerful book. If you know a nine year old, you will really be able to relate to it and you won't be able to put the book down. If you don't know a nine year old, you might find the book a bit too unbelievable.
All of a sudden, the mother and brother walking through the path in the woods stop fighting. The brother looks back, and doesn't see his nine-year-old sister Trisha, who was supposed to be following behind. Where is she? Where could she have gone? This is Opening Day of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, the latest Stephen King novel that I have devoured, it is about faith, and perseverence, and baseball. Little Trisha McFarland, purely by accident, gets lost in the Maine woods after separating herself from her family. What begins as a family outing one early Saturday morning becomes a long, dark journey for this little girl, one whose outcome is always uncertain. For Trisha may not be alone in the woods ... and whatever is out there may be hungry. The bulk of this short novel deals primarily with Trisha's lonesome journey deeper and deeper into the heart of the woods. One is often reminded of a similar journey by Jack Sawyer in the earlier book The Talisman, but Jack had the backdrop of America to rely on. Here, Trisha has only her wits, her rudimentary knowledge of the woods, and her Walkman, which broadcasts Red Sox baseball games, featuring her favourite player, Tom Gordon. The games become sort of a lifeline for her, a way to connect with the world of lights and people as she moves further and further away from that world. To keep her company, she imagines Gordon is with her at times, talking to her and generally keeping her sane. As the actual broadcasts begin to fade out, she relies more and more on her make-believe Tom Gordon, who speaks to her philosophically, and has faith in a saving God. Trisha herself begins to lose faith in Tom Gordon's God. She has to contend with mosquitoes, wasps, water that makes her sick, a dwindling food supply, encroaching loneliness and a series of darker and darker hallucinations. In the midst of all these trials, she senses something, a God of the Lost, stalking her as prey, following her
on her dark journey. This God becomes more real when she finds angry slash-marks on the trees in her path ... and severed heads of animals seemingly left specifically for her to see. Whether or not The God of the Lost is real becomes the true focus of the novel, and the issue of faith has never been more subtly presented. At every turn, Trisha is knocked down, but she gets up again (it's no mistake that Chumbawumba is the tape left in her Walkman), and it becomes fascinating to watch this little girl survive. At times, her adventure becomes disheartening (a trip through a boggy swamp is especially upsetting) but as Trisha puts more faith in Tom Gordon, we put more faith in her. Every time Gordon makes a save for the Red Sox, he gestures briefly toward the sky, an acknowledgement of his trust in God. We sweat out the pages of this book that bares his name to see if Trisha will make her own save. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is one of the most tense and scary books Stephen King has ever written. The writing is crisp and clear, and he doesn't seem to have time to go into much exposition. He tells us what we need to know, and moves on. This is no long, flowing narrative; here, the pages whiz by in a flash, perpetuated by the need to know if Trisha will ever get out of the woods, and what the God of the Lost truly is. If ever King wrote a book with "the gotta" in mind, this is it. Intense, dark, and short enough to be read in one sitting, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is one of his shorter novels but ultimately one of the most satisfying.
Once again Stephen King continues to produce work of originality and strength. Having written over twenty seven titles under Stephen King or Richard Bachman, He still amazes me how he can produce such work that still has it's gripping edge. The Girl Who Loved Thomas Gordan maybe a short novel but it has so much to it. Stephen King manages this by using lots of description - which normally would put me off, but this time the way he describes things and gets you to imagine them is so strong and intense that you don't fell like you are there but you are there. The novel is of a young nine year old girl called Trisha Mcfarland. When going out with her mother and brother one day, she wonders off into the woods to go to the toilet but loses her way and becomes lost. The novel focuses on her survival and how amazingly clever she is. As is expected from stephen King a "spooky" agenda arises in the novel, although it is up to the reader, in the end to make their own opinion of this. If you like to read Steohen King, then read this book, you'll love it. If you don't, then read it anyway, you'll love it too.
The girl who loved tom Gordon is one of Steven King’s most recent books. Unlike a large number of his books, there is no fight between good and evil, but there is an evil presence throughout. The story is of a girl who has a somewhat dysfunctional family, and is on a hiking trip with her mum and brother. She needs to ‘go pee’ and so breaks away from her little group without bothering to tell anyone (her mum and brother were arguing as usual). This leads to disastrous results, as she gets lost in a large area of woodland. All the girl has is her pack in which there are some remnants of food and water, her raincoat, and her radio. The story is about her struggle to survive in the woods, with her only way to stay sane and in contact with the world is her radio. She’s an avid Red socks fan, whose favourite player is Tom Gordon. She tunes in every night listening to the baseball games. Slowly she starts to feel she’s being tracked down by something, and then she feels she’s just being toyed with. The end of he book is climatic, when she comes face to face with what’s been following her, and she is finally rescued. The book has a feel to it that shows if you have faith, you will survive. It has a lot of information on survival in various places throughout the book, and shows you the right and wrong ways to go about getting out of trouble when you’re lost in the woods. I recommend this book for people who like survival stories with a horror/supernatural element to it.
I finished this particular book just over a week ago; it’s not the “thickest” book I’ve ever read, little fewer than 300 pages. To say I thoroughly enjoyed this book would be a lie but it was entertaining enough to keep my interest to some degree. I had wondered before, after reading Hearts In Atlantis, whether Stephen King had lost his flair and run out of his really good ideas, and this book actually confirmed it for me. I may be wrong he may have a little something up his sleeve and just waiting for the right time to bring it out but, after reading all but three of all the books he has ever written and enjoying all of them, some more than others, I found myself feeling cheated after reading the final chapter. I’m used to (9 times out of 10) being left feeling refreshed and wanting more after reading a book by Stephen King, and this book just didn’t cut it with me. The book explains the situation of 9-year-old Trisha who is the sister of Pete, daughter of Quilla and Larry McFarland. Who whist on a walking afternoon with her mother and brother found herself invisible to them as they were arguing about their recent move away from their family home after the breakdown of the marriage between Quilla and Larry. And the urge to “pee” was getting stronger all the time, every time she raised her concern it fell on death ears so she took matters into her own hands and left the trail to find somewhere to go where she wouldn’t be seen. Predictably she went a bit too far and couldn’t find here way back to the path, panicked and ended up deeper into the forest than she could ever had imagined. She travels deeper and deeper into the tangled undergrowth, and gets even more lost. To help her through her ordeal she conjures up from her imagination her sporting hero, Tom Gordon, a baseball player. As she progresses through her ordeal Tom keeps her company, but so does something
else! She spends many a day and a night alone whist being tracked by that “something” and sees first hand dismembered deer and pushed over trees, which the “something” had caught up with. The book continues drawing out the picture of a little girl alone in the woods with a-not-so-nice friend tracking her, a bit too much for my liking. And there are, as you would imagine search parties etc looking for her, but the problem is; she has got a lot further than anyone ever expected. I wont tell you the entire ending, but you have probably already gathered, it ends with a confrontation between Trisha and the “something” and she stands her ground, pretty brave for a 9-year-old! In hindsight I still would have brought this book, but only because I collect Stephen King books and my collection wouldn’t be complete without it. My advise to you is if you are looking for a Stephen King book to read for Interest, rather than hobby, than leave this one well alone.
Right. As soon as my daughter reaches her third birthday, I’m going to read this book to her. I’ll read it to her at bedtime so she’ll have time alone to reflect on the seriousness of the story. Why? Because I’m a parent who has put herself in the place of the little girl in this story and who trembles at the thought of anything like that happening to her own child or any other. Maybe they ought to make a cardboard book of it with lots of bright pictures so that babies can start subconsciously absorbing the moral of this story – namely, not to wander off the path and away from their mummy when walking through huge, scary, wild woods of the Stephen King type. I thought the days of being scared by Stephen King books were long past me. “Insomnia”, “Hearts in Atlantis”, “The Green Mile” – all of these were exceptional, but they didn’t have the spine-chill factor that “Christine” or “Carrie” had – not that that was a problem! And anyway, I read those last two when I was still a child; I’m a grown adult now with a daughter of my own, quite old enough to know that monsters and ghosts don’t exist (they don’t, do they?). So I started reading. And to be quite honest, I initially found it a bit boring. Girl wanders off from path, gets lost in woods. Not much of a plot. There was also a lot of description there, and I started to feel my attention getting itchy feet. Any other author, and I would most probably have put this book away and picked up another. But this wasn’t ‘any other author’, this was Stephen King; we have a history, and I knew he wouldn’t let me down. And he didn’t disappoint. I think it was probably about halfway through that I realised the suspense had got to me so much that I didn’t want to put this book down. Trisha, the nine-year-old star of the story, has been trying to
find her way out of the woods for about five days, and still no sign of civilisation (well there wouldn’t be, would there, seeing as we’re only halfway through). Her daily physical struggles are described in terrible detail: she has to make her way through savage wood and marshland, find food to give her energy to keep moving and fend off exhaustion, and then deal with the violent sickness that results in drinking from the streams in the woods. Not only does she discover an inner voice that seems to relish scaring her witless, she also starts to realise that there is ‘something’ stalking her through the woods. It’s a Stephen King novel, so obviously the ‘something’ isn’t going to be a cute baby deer who just wants to play; no, it’s going to be something big, mean and scary, whose one purpose in life is to make Trisha its next meal. As time goes on, she starts to have hallucinations which take the form of her baseball hero, Tom Gordon. Well you would, wouldn’t you? He walks along beside her, keeping her company and giving her the strength and support to carry on surviving. Later on, as she becomes more and more exhausted, reality and make believe merge into one another. Although Tom Gordon is with her constantly, she starts to ‘see’ other people as well, although not all of them are on her side. I won’t elaborate any further on the storyline – it would be such a shame to spoil it for any potential reader. And Stephen King gets paid a great deal more for writing about it than I do, so why should I? But I will say that the suspense is cleverly built up, the atmosphere scary, and the ending will bring a lump to your throat. Maybe not one of his best novels, no, but I still really enjoyed reading it. It reminded me very much of “Gerald’s Game” in its style of sticking to one situation and the search for a solution; I believe King himself co
mpared the two in his book “On Writing” (Steve, I’m still waiting for that commission cheque for all this plugging of your previous works). Baseball fans may also appreciate the frequent references to the game; they were lost on me, although I don’t think this spoiled the book. I just wish I’d find a book with a netball theme one day. Stephen King fans will love it, as will anyone else who likes to be gripped and moved simultaneously. Hmm, maybe I should rephrase that when I update this. Come on now, you didn’t really think I would read this book to my daughter, did you? No way. There is a message in here that any parent should give some serious thought to, but it’s one that I think needs a little soft focus and a little perspective. In the mean time, let me go and shut that window. There’s another one of those pesky wasps…