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The Good Times Are Killing Me

I'm a nerdy girl with too much time on her hands, and too many books on her to-read pile.

Currently reading

Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm
Wilhelm Grimm, Jacob Grimm, Lucy Crane, Walter Crane
Natasha Wimmer, Roberto Bolaño

Salem's Lot

'Salem's Lot - Stephen King Once again, Stephen King manages to scare the crap out of me. It didn’t help that I decided to revisit this vampire classic while being in a strange house, unable to sleep because of the heat, and with no religious objects anywhere near my bed. (I’m a shitty atheist, I know) Still, there are no regrets. Salem’s Lot does justice to a monster that lately has been treated by literature and the entertainment industry as the new teenage heartthrob. Well, not here. If my Edward-Cullen-is-the-love-of-my-life best friend ever sees a motherfucker like Barlow outside her window in the middle of the night, lust and attraction wouldn’t exactly be the first things on her mind before screaming bloody murder. The first part of the book introduces us to Salem’s Lot, a dying little town with little to recommend it to strangers. Its inhabitants, for the most part, have enough dealing with their own secrets and little evils to aspire for more, and thus are content living in a place with no future. In the second part of the story we see how their false sense of security tries to persist even in the face of the unthinkable, leaving up to a writer, a priest, a high school teacher, a doctor, a young boy and a local woman the destruction of the evil that threatens to destroy Salem’s Lot forever. As I said before, Salem’s Lot took me back to a time where vampires weren’t sensitive and tortured beings looking for love or redemption. What we get instead is a predator of the worst kind, with the cunning mind of a human and the thirst for blood of a beast. There is no negotiation or bargain with such a creature, no way to escape or avoid becoming that which killed you in the first place and that, first and foremost, is what I love about this book. Barlow, the vampire overlord, is a fitting tribute to Stoker’s Dracula and unlike other reviewers I wasn’t bothered by his lack of background or the few times he is present in a scene. It made the times he actually did anything more frightening and mysterious, and it built his image as an ancient and powerful being beyond human comprehension. As for the rest of the characters, my favorite was Mark Petrie. He reminds me of that magical time where monsters were real and were waiting for my mom to close the bedroom door to pounce on me; if one ever did, I’d like to think that I would’ve reacted with as much faith in the supernatural as he does in this novel. Father Callahan is another remarkable character, having to face a situation that proves and challenges his faith at the same time, but part of me feels feels that my sympathy comes from knowing what awaits him in The Dark Tower series . The first time I read Salem’s Lot I wasn’t nearly as understanding of his actions, or found him a very likable character.Having said that, I also need to point out that there are things that could be improved here. Although near the end I was able to appreciate King’s attempt in the first part of the book to make us care at least a little for the fate of the Lot’s occupants, his introductions take too much of the book and slow the pace considerably. There are just too many people to meet, and it isn’t always easy to remember their backgrounds by the time something actually happens to them.The motives and personalities of the main characters also felt weak at times. Father Callahan comes to mind as an example: In his showdown with Barlow he lacked the faith that even non-Catholics have displayed throughout the novel with no difficulty. It wasn’t unbelievable, but it could have been explored more and it ended up looking like a wasted opportunity. I also had a bit of trouble with Susan. I’m a sucker for strong female characters, and while she didn’t rub me the wrong way, I was left expecting more from her actions and got instead a somewhat stereotypical ending.So yeah. Even knowing that this isn't King's finest hour, ("The Shining" and "The Stand" are sooo much better) I can’t give less than 5 stars to something that made me stay awake most of the night, dying from heat but refusing to open the window for fear of seeing a neighbor clinging to it and begging to be let in. Finally, I want to close this little review with some quotes that got stuck in my head and refuse to leave me alone:“The town cares for devil’s work no more than it cares for God’s or man’s. It knew darkness. And darkness was enough.”“There is no life here but the slow death of days, and so when the evil falls on the town, its coming seems almost preordained, sweet and morphic.”“As the stranger came closer, Dud understood everything and welcomed it, and when the pain came, it was as sweet as silver, as green as still water at dark fathoms”.