Stephen King's Under the Dome book cover.

Under the Dome by Stephen King


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A Quick Review, Sort Of

I have been reading Under the Dome by Stephen King (Amazon.com / Amazon.ca) for about five months. Maybe longer. In general, I tend to be a slow reader but not usually this slow. I finished reading the book! It is a huge weight off my shoulders.

Stephen King's Under the Dome book cover.

And my wrists. Seriously, it is a huge weight for a casual read. Under the Dome is 1074 pages and weighs just under 3 lbs. (yes, I weighed it). Picking this book up to read was a workout. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against big books. I always feel like I am getting my money’s worth when a book is over 300 pages. I kept avoiding it because this sucker was too awkward and heavy to read.

Bound and Determined

I was bound and determined to finish. At one point, I had three copies of Under the Dome on my book shelves. That’s right, three copies. This was obviously a book my subconscious wanted me to read. When I was reading Marie Kondo’s book, Spark Joy (she has you collect all your books into one location) I discovered the extra copies and stopped buying them. I quickly gifted the other two.

The Writer and On Writing

Before I get to the book, I feel like I need to preface that I am not a die-hard Stephen King fan. I admire him as a writer and as a human being — anyone whose body was totaled by a vehicle running over them and then fights their way back to a productive and happy life deserves some respect.

Stephen King (Photograph © Shane Leonard)
Photograph © Shane Leonard

The first book I read by Stephen King was On Writing (Amazon.com/Amazon.ca). It was a good book that spoke to me. He talked a lot about his book The Stand. When I was done with his writing book, I checked out The Stand from the library. I read it in four days. I loved it. Still love it. I even love the cheesy TV interpretation starring Molly Ringwald and Gary Sinise. Another reason I mention this, is The Stand is just over 800 pages; so a hefty book.

Under the Dome

If you are not familiar with the story of Under the Dome, I will sum it up as: The people of Chester’s Mill wake up one morning to find an invisible, and seemingly impenetrable dome has covered their idyllic little town of about 5000 people. Half the town is trapped inside and the other half are locked out. Those trapped inside lose their wits in less than a week.

It’s not a Hallmark novel, it’s horror. There is a lot of rape. A lot of senseless violence. A lot of justified violence. The weight of the book reflects the weight of the content as the new hierarchy of ants struggle to find their place in this altered environment.

Stephen King’s novels tend to have a lot of characters which keeps things interesting but I had a hard time keeping them straight especially since so many of them died off so quickly. I was like, what? Already? Is that a spoiler? Maybe.

Then there is the point of views (POV). We got pretty much everyone’s POV including the dog’s and maybe the writer? I was confused by the last one. About three quarters in, we are kind of flying through town like the ghosts of Christmas present checking out everyone’s current situation but “don’t worry they can’t see us”. It felt weird and out of place.

As for the ending, I don’t want to give away anything vital, I was happy with it. Everyone that I wanted to die, died. And almost everyone that I wanted to live, lived.

I guess I should mention, if you saw the short lived TV series (I did) by the same name, do not expect it to follow that storyline. While some of the same character names appear, their storylines were almost completely different.

Under the Dome Goes to a New Home

Overall, I did not enjoy this book. Had I read the book when I first bought it I have no doubt that my opinion would be different. My third and final copy has already found another home.

If you want to read it, buy it in ebook format (Amazon.com / Amazon.ca). It’s lighter.

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