Revival, by Stephen King *****

revivalI was reading along; King was his usual irreverent self, cracking wise and bopping to the oldies. I experienced Jamie Morton’s childhood, his family, and the tragedy that befell their pastor, whom he adored. And then…something happened.

Mother, something happened.

As the landscape grows darker, I found Jamie again, older and much changed. The narrative filled me in on the years that were missed, and why things have gone so badly for him. Things are going to get better…and yet, so much worse. So very much worse.

Not too far in, Jamie has a repeating dream that I have had too. I was shocked! I wonder whether it is a textbook example of a grief dream? My repeating dream has been gone for over 20 years, but I had that hummer off and on for over ten before them, and was quite surprised to find them nestled into a horror story. I may try a search on it and see what pops up, not unlike Jamie’s joker in the deck of cards. You never know.

Is it just me, or has King been discussing, under cover of his standard things-that-go-bump-in-the-night, issues involving aging and death? Of course, in a horror novel, people die, and so there are grieving people in a lot of his books anyway. But in Dr. Sleep, the baddest of the bad guys prolonged their own lives at the expense of those who are young and have not had a fair turn on life’s merry-go-round yet. And although Revival doesn’t discuss these things as obviously, underneath it all lies a strong current, that we should leave when our turn is over, not tamper with nature, and accept that when it’s over, it’s really over.

If that wasn’t his intention, it’s not a bad message anyway, particularly for the Boomers whose music he incorporates into nearly every story. We want to stay, but when our turn is over, we just have to go, and make way for those that are being born.

If the reader doesn’t care to reflect on mortality in general, it is still one helluva great story!

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