REVIEW OF 'SALEM'S LOT
Mary Hazel Upton
BLOG POST FOR MARIETTE'S NIGHTMARE BOOKSTORE PAGE
AUGUST 10, 2016 WEDNESDAY
BOOK REVIEW BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
I took this photograph of this beautiful rose on October 20, 2014. It was one of Mama's roses and still blooming in late October.
'SALEM'S LOT: TOWN OF DARKNESS
BOOK REVIEW OF STEPHEN KING'S BOOK
BOOK REVIEW BY
MARY HAZEL UPTON
You can look for the town of 'Salem's Lot on the map, but you won't find it. Like Derry, Ludlow, and the other towns in Stephen King's fiction, Jerusalem's Lot exists only in his mind.
'Salem's Lot is the ultimate vampire story. He combines the small town hiding dark secrets, used in a thousand soap opera novels, with the grade B movie plot of monsters taking over the world, along with his unique version of the classic plot of Bram Stoker's Dracula, also used in a thousand variations since the original was published back in the 1800's. In the hands of a lesser writer, this would be one more forgettable pulp story.
The King never disappoints though! His genius is that he makes us believe in the people who live in his fictional towns. And we also believe in the towns, perhaps for the same reason that we believe in his characters, because they are fictionalized versions of what he knows, not just made up cardboard paper dolls and painted scenery. Perhaps Stephen King's real genius, though, is that he knows we are all still afraid of the dark, just as he is, so he can make us believe in his monsters.
'Salem's Lot is Stephen King's second published novel published back in 1975 right after he became famous for his first novel, Carrie. All of his writing is good, but 'Salem's Lot remains my favorite of all of his stories, and I have read it several times.
The story opens just before Ben Mears, a writer, who is probably really Stephen King, as many of his writer characters seem to be, and Mark Petrie, a young boy that Ben is taking care of, return to 'Salem's Lot to try to stop the vampires before it is too late.
Most of the rest of the book then shifts to the events that led Ben and Mark to flee 'Salem's Lot. The story finishes with a short section about what happens after they return.
Most of the book focuses on the growing darkness menacing the small town of 'Salem's Lot. This a multiple character book, although Ben is the main character, and the various chapters focus on the different people in the town and their fates as the vampires take over the town. The town itself is an important character in Stephen King's book.
"The town knew darkness," Stephen King writes at the beginning of one of the descriptive chapters called The Lot (III) about halfway through the book when the action is picking up rapidly.
The chapter, as many of the chapters in this book, especially the ones about the town, are beautiful and lyrical, prose poetry.
Even before you've gotten that far in the book, you believe in, not only the people in the town, but the town itself because Stephen King knows these people and the towns he writes about. They are his people and his towns that he has lived among all of his life. They are fictionalized, but like all good fiction, they are rooted in truth.
As with all good stories, even though this one was written a number of years ago, and even though Stephen King always uses timely details in his stories, this one doesn't outdate. In the hands of a lesser writer, references to current events and outdated brands or technology might outdate his book. But not in the King's hands. His books will be read a hundred years from now with the same pleasure by future generations, as the classics are read by us now.
After you've read 'Salem's Lot, if you're ever driving in Maine, you will check and double check your map to make sure you avoid Jerusalem's Lot. Especially if the sun is going down.
Buying information for 'Salem's Lot:
You should be able to find this book easily at your local bookstore, or possibly at a used bookstore, flea market, or yard sale. Stephen King books don't go out of print. And there are millions of used copies available. I bought my copy at a flea market. If your local bookstore doesn't have a copy in stock, all bookstores should be able to order a copy of any in print book a customer requests.
If you can't find a copy or want to order one on the Internet you can also go to:
When I webbed up Amazon I found out that they had many copies of this book, new, used, hardcover, paperback, and even a Kindle version. I started typing in 'Salem's Lot on their search engine, and before I was finished many results came up, including 'Salem's Lot Stephen King, where I found a huge assortment of copies for sale. Amazon is a good reliable company. I have never had any trouble ordering from them.
There are hundreds of fan sites for Stephen King on the Internet. As we find more of them, Mariette and I will include some of the links to them on her Mariette's Nightmare Bookstore page. Here is the link to Stephen King's official website though. There is a lot on it and it has all the latest news about his newest books and other information about him. Check it out!
MAMA'S ORANGE ROSE
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAZEL FERN HENSON
This photograph of Mama's orange rose is from one of her very old photo books. She had the rose bush in the front yard for many years. It was a beautiful, very unusual shade of orange. We never saw another one like it, or knew the name of the rose. She tried many times to get a start of it, but never could. The rosebush finally died after many years, but the photographs she took of it remain.