Joyland surprises reader

Joyland surprises reader

Raine Lipscher

Distinguished horror novelist Stephen King gave us one of the best books of 2013: Joyland. Although the illustration on the cover of the book looks like it was taken from a hair-raising movie from the ‘50s, King surprises his audience with a sentimental, tear-jerking story.

The tale begins with Devin Jones, a heart-broken college student looking for a summer job in a small beach town in North Carolina. Instead of sulking in the misery of being dumped by the girl he loved, he decides to jump into the entertainment business and take a job at an amusement park known as Joyland.

While having to wear an over-heated dog costume and entertain little kids at Joyland, Devin meets soon-to-be friends and his new freaky family, including a cooky, North Eastern, fortune teller who informs him about an important child that will enter his life. She says that the child will either be a girl with a red hat or a boy with a dog, and that one of them will have “the sight.”

Being the curious person that he is, Devin decides to discover more about his job and soon learns about Joyland’s dark past. An old story floats around the amusement park that a young woman was murdered in one of the scarier rides that was known for being a make-out spot for teenagers.

On his journey to uncover her mysterious death, Devin brings one of his co-workers, Tom, to fix a mechanical issue on the ride. After they leave the tunnel, Tom refuses to go anywhere near the ride because he swears that he saw the ghost of the dead girl, yet Devin saw nothing. King brings an interesting point of view into the book by making his main character blind to the supernatural world while everyone around him seems to have a sixth sense.

As the fortune teller had predicted, the boy with the dog soon enters Devin’s life and he happens to be a 10-year-old in a wheelchair named Mike Ross. Mike is in a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy, and even though he is pictured as sickly and tired, I fell in love with his humorous personality and positive energy. Devin soon establishes a very close father-son bond with Mike.

The plot of the book brings the reader through a rollercoaster of emotions as it climaxes and falls.
Although this book has a scary aspect it also contains an unexpected sweet side. Even in the worst deaths, people can still return to a peaceful state.

Click here to buy the book on Amazon