I've been reading the works of Stephen King for a very long time, and more often than not, his books have made me shiver, jump out of my skin, and, once or twice, say "yuck", out loud (see the short story, Survivor Type).
Now, having just finished his latest, Lisey's Story, I found myself choked up and wiping tears from my eyes as I read the final few pages.
Yup, Stephen King made me cry.
The new novel is about a middle-aged woman, Lisey Landon, whose husband, a celebrated novelist (Scott), has recently passed away.
Dealing with her grief over her husband's untimely death, and her sister Amanda's penchant for self mutilation, Lisey has a lot on her plate. Add to this an unhinged fan of her late husband who is threating her because he wants Scott's unpublished works and letters, and it's no wonder that Lisey spends a great deal of her time retreating to her less anxiety riddled past with her husband by way of daydreams.
Of course, this being a Stephen King novel, there is a supernatural component.
Fan's of King's work will recognize the Never-Never land that Lisey eventually finds her self in, akin to "The Territories" (first visited in The Talisman).
Causal readers should not shy away though, because this is not a horror novel.
More than anything, Lisey's Story is a tale of healing, a melancholy love story of pining for the past, while marching bravely into the future (no matter what that future holds). And if the reader goes for the ride and navigates the tale's highs and lows and detours into some very dark places, he or she will come out the other side with the book's strong heroine and see what a therapeutic trip it all really was.
Oh, and have a box of tissues ready for those last few pages.
Trust me, you'll need them.