I’ve had three loves in my life. That’s not the secret, just a fact, so keep reading. I’ve had three loves in my life. One’s dead. One’s married to another man. One’s out there living his life having no contact with me. His choice, not mine. I used to say that this man was the man I should have married.
This man drew and framed this gift for me:
The secret is that I’ve kept this all this time. Looking at it every year at around Christmas time.
I’ve kept this all this time, since he drew it in 2004 and looked at it every year at around Christmas time. This is my secret. I’ve realised that by doing so, I’ve kept the love for this man close in my heart. But as I’ve said to many others:
You can’t live in the past.
So I’ve decided to finally let go of this framed drawing. In doing so, I will also release the love for this man from my heart. He is no longer the man I should have married, but the love that I let go.
Stephen King is a Writer that I’ve always admired. But to be honest, he’s wrote that many books, I’ve always been unsure where to start.
That was until I watched the TV series Under The Dome, based on King’s two-book story with the same name. The copy of Under The Dome that I’m reviewing is one where the two books have been combined into one and therefore has the full story from start to finish.
My Review Under The Dome is the masterpiece novel Stephen King. It literally took over my life for a good few weeks. At every available opportunity, I’ve found myself picking it up and reading more.
Under The Dome starts when an invisible dome descends on the sock-shaped town of Chester’s Mill, Maine in the USA. The dome is almost impenetrable, only letting through small amounts of air and water.
When the dome comes down it slices off the hand of a woman gardening. It slices a small aeroplane in half. A few cars crash into the dome, which explode on impact. The gardener, aeroplane pilot and trainee, and car drivers all die.
But for the people of Chester’s Mill this is just the start of their problems and things are going to get a hell of a lot worse.
Under The Dome has a full town cast of characters. Here are some of the characters, in alphabetical order:
Andrea Grinnell – local politician (Third Selectman) and addicted to prescription painkillers.
Andy Sanders – Local politician (First Selectman) and Pharmacist. Owner of the only drug store, which would have closed years ago, if it wasn’t for the help of Jim Rennie.
Colonel James Cox – In charge of the military outside of the dome.
Dale Barbara (Barbie) – A Iraq army veteran.
Duke Perkins – local Police Chief. That is until he meets his demise and is replaced by Peter Randolph.
Jim Rennie (Big Jim) – Local politician (Second Selectman) and a used car salesman. He also has a secret illegal business of making, selling and shipping methamphetamine.
Joseph McClatchey (Scarecrow Joe) – a very clever teenager. He is often with his two friends (Norrie Calvert & Benny Drake) throughout the book.
Julia Shumway – Owner, writer and editor of Democrat Chester’s Mill local newspaper. Has a Corgi dog named Horace.
Junior Rennie – Jim’s son. Revealed to have a brain tumour that nobody knows about that influences his thinking and behaviour.
Ollie Dinsmore – The boy who looses everyone and everything, but manages to survive.
Piper Libby – A Reverend who doesn’t believe in God and lives with her dog whom she loves dearly.
Rommie Burpee – Owner of Burpee’s Department Store.
Rusty (Physicians Assistant) & Linda (Police Officer) Everett – Rusty’s character is brilliant. He sees the truth because he questions everything and follows his gut feeling. But with a wife and two children he is constantly torn between doing the right thing and protecting his family.
Samantha (Sammy) Bushey – A girl with a difficult life, one that’s going to get more difficult with the dome in place and will lead to tragic consequences.
I know that I have probably missed out someone’s favourite character. If I have and you want to let others know about your favourite character, leave a comment below, giving the character’s name and a brief description.
So what actually happens in the just over a week that the dome is in place? The answer plenty including: manipulation, lies, abuse of power, crimes – looting, rape (this scene was particularly disturbing and traumatic to read, but none the less extremely well written) and murder, false allegations, the attempted cover-up of meth labs and propane use/storage, the threat of diminishing resources – people don’t know how long the dome will be in place for and how people respond to this threat, a major explosion and fire fuelled by the propane and an abundance of death.
The TV series was mediocre. I am pleased to say that the book far exceeds the TV series, being extraordinary. In this letter King explains that in the TV series the concept of the dome is the same, but the Writers have re-imagined the plot and some aspects of the characters. He states that he sees the TV series as playing out in an alternate reality.
The Under The Dome concept is brilliant. The description is superb. The characters are have been well developed and are interesting. The pacing is terrifically fast meaning that the book grips you from the first page to the very last (it’s a total of 877 pages long). Overall Under The Dome is exceptionally well written, with not a single word wasted. Well done King.
I would go as far as saying that in writing Under The Dome King has reached his pinnacle, but I don’t feel I can say this as I haven’t read any other of his works, yet.
The Story Behind The Story Stephen King had the idea for Under The Dome over twenty-five years ago. But every time he tried to write it, he didn’t feel that he could do the story justice. Then he was involved in a car crash, where he nearly died. For a while after the accident he thought that he might never write again. When King did start writing again, albeit more slowly than before the accident, he decided to start and complete Under The Dome as he didn’t want to die with an unfinished manuscript in his desk draw.
Mother of three and wife of John-Paul, Cecilia discovers an old envelope in the attic. Written in her husband’s hand, it says: to be opened only in the event of my death.
Curious, she opens it – and time stops.
John-Paul’s letter confesses to a terrible mistake which, if revealed, would wreck their family as well as the lives of others.
Cecilia wants to do the right thing, but right for who? If she protects her family by staying silent, the truth will worm through her heart. But if she reveals her husband’s secret, she will hurt those she loves most…
Moriarty initially only used surnames to give the characters a sense of reality, but as the story continues she share’s the characters thoughts. This sharing of thoughts helped the reader empathise and connect with the characters. This was a shrewd move on Moriarty’s part, as the clever and intricate plot is character driven.
The pacing is full of suspense and the reader will find themselves thinking just one more chapter before I stop.
In Oh Dear Silvia, Silvia Shute is in a coma. Silva has a secret; a secret that’s led to the end of her marriage with Ed, a breakdown in the relationship with her children Cassie & Jamie and to her having a lesbian relationship with Cat. Each of the characters are convinced that they are the only one that can bring Silvia out of her coma.
The idea behind the book is a fantastic one, but any writer would struggle to do much with their main character being in a coma. French uses the other characters having conversations with an unresponsive Silvia to tell the story. It meant there was an awful lot of telling, rather than a good mix of show and tell. French was forced put the description into the conversations. At times it was overly descriptive and occasionally made the conversations feel unnatural.
I waited for the paperback of Oh Dear Silvia and it did take me a while to get into the book. But once I was
hooked, I found myself at night thinking: I’ll just read one more chapter before bed. Then staying up late to read three chapters.
The pacing of the story was excellent. However a source of frustration was the repetitiveness of Ed talking about trees. Oh Dear Silvia is exceptionally funny, with the laugh-out-loud comedy usually being delivered by Jo, Silvia’s New Age Hippie Sister. The reader will also enjoy Winnie, Silvia’s Jamaican Pentecostal Christian Nurse who is cleverly written as she’d speak.
As the reader gets to know the characters and what’s happened between Silvia & them, a secret is slowly revealed. A dark secret that’s truly stupendous.
The reader comes to understand Silvia’s choice to cut off her family, that it was to protect them. Empathy develops for Silvia that leads to an emotional ending. The book did end prematurely, it would have been interesting to have seen the characters reaction to the revelation of Silvia’s secret.
Everything considered, Oh Dear Silvia is a mixed bag. It got lots of great aspects that you’ll enjoy, but it really is an easy read that’s intended for light entertainment. It is worth a read, but don’t expect for the story to be memorable or to cause you to think. Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French is available to buy on Amazon.
On a personal level I love Dawn French and her first fiction book A Tiny Bit Marvellous. I gave it an excellent review. I will probably buy her next book, but can’t deny that this offering wasn’t as good as the high expectations I had.
Share on Social Media:
Wednesday 20 November 2013
The personal blog of a gay and pagan man living in the UK.
Hi Sofia, Thanks for the comment. I bought that in Glastonbury and he was a real find. I bought him…
Hi! I know this was posted ages ago and so a response may be rare but my dad has been…
Hi Ruth, Thanks for the comment. He might well have been. A x
Hi! Watching video and interviews with Charlie Watt, it had me wondering if he might have had Aspergers/ been on…
Antony Simpson is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.