An(other) Open Letter To Stephen King

by Amy Lindorff

Dear Stephen King,

As of this afternoon, I have read two of your books: On Writing (for an AP English summer assignment) and 11/22/63 (for funsies the last few weeks). I’m not going to wait around to tell everyone that the sentence “dancing is life” appears at least three separate times in 11/22/63 thus making it a book that I cannot recommend to others.

The reviews on Goodreads are all over the place, but mostly I agree with this guy named Brian about halfway down the page who said:

“Roger Ebert wrote of the movie Pearl Harbor that it ‘is a two-hour movie squeezed into three hours, about how on Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese staged a surprise attack on an American love triangle.’ The paraphrase for King’s book is a natural: it’s a 200-page novel squeezed into 800 pages, about how on November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated the world’s most powerful love affair.”

Exactly.

You really could have done without half of every page, because half of every page was phrases like “as we know, class, the past harmonizes” ( page 815). YES WE GET IT. We have spent 800 pages reading this same phrase over and over again and here, and many other places, you are writing as if we are the dumbest people ever to read books. You seem to think we can’t remember character names and major plot points. If I wanted someone to make me feel stupid (when I know I am not) almost constantly, I know a couple guys who would be glad to be of service. Also, by page 815 you had said “the past harmonizes” about a million times, “the past is obdurate” another five hundred thousand, and added about one hundred thousand helpful parenthetical reminders that things were different in the ’60s than they are in the 2000s. Most people are aware of this.

People obviously really like you and you are really successful and I am probably in no way qualified to tell you any of this but it annoyed the hell out of me when I was reading. I only kept reading because the plot was fascinating and I HAD TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. It was like the last few seasons of Lost. I wasn’t completely enjoying myself and I was yelling at you a lot and the ending was only fine, but I was glad I got through it. It really was an interesting story and if I liked thrillers/horror novels I’m sure I’d have a very different relationship with you.

Love, Amy

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