ISBN #: 978-1476770383
Page Count: 416
Copyright: November 11, 2014
Publisher: Scribner; Original Edition
(Taken from Amazon)
A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life.
In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs—including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.
Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties—addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate—Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.
This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It’s a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe.
I know, I know. Who needs to write yet another review of Stephen King's Revival? At the time I'm typing this, there are already 370 reviews on Amazon alone. Normally, I'd wait until the fanfare dies down before sharing my review but ... it's King. Enough said.
The first two paragraphs (which I've edited below) set up the entire novel.
In one way, at least, our lives really are like movies. The main cast consists of your family and friends. The supporting cast is made up of neighbors, co-workers, teachers, and daily acquaintances. There are also bit players: the supermarket checkout girl with the pretty smile, the friendly bartender at the local watering hole, the guys you work out with at the gym three days a week. And there are thousands of extras - those people who flow through every life like water through a sieve, seen once and never again.
But sometimes a person who fits none of these categories comes into your life. This is the joker who pops out of the deck at odd intervals over the years, often during a moment of crisis. In the movies this sort of character is known as the fifth business, or the change agent. When he turns up in a film, you know he's there because the screenwriter put him there. But who is screenwriting our lives? Fate or coincidence? I want to believe it's the latter. I want that with all my heart and soul.
And, just like that, I've fallen back in love with the mind of Stephen King ... but I digress. This could easily become an ode to King, but I'll try to stay on track with my review.
Jamie is the youngest of four siblings. They live in a small Maine town and go to church faithfully. When Charles Jacobs arrives on the scene, he does so as a young minister ready to be over his own congregation. The connection between Jamie and Charles is automatic ... almost electric ... and that bond stays strong throughout their lives; causing Charles to use Jamie at his discretion and causing Jamie to question the loyalty to a past friendship when it's becoming clearer and clearer that Charles may be a little too zealous (i.e. crazy).
Charles' interest in energy turns into an obsession over time. He harnesses the energy and is able to centralize it so that he can perform "miracles" on people who are seriously diseased and even dying. A small percentage of the healed have some serious side effects that seem unrelated: A person eating dirt, another stabbing himself in the arm, another seeing prisms of light in the world, and the list goes on. They all culminate and are explained in the result of Charles Jacobs' final miraculous act.
I must say, it takes a lot to scare me. A lot. Revival didn't scare me ... which is not why I read Stephen King's work. It's always a nice plus when his work can scare me. The main reason I love this particular novel was because it made me think about human nature. It caused me to consider my life and see if there was a fifth business in my own movie. Is there someone that comes into my life only during a moment of crisis?
There are some comparable elements to past works by King. For example, many people are scared of clowns and spiders, but how many people are scared of ants? Perhaps if they're ginormous and have screaming human faces on their legs as they crawl out of a human's mouth ... well, that might give someone some unpleasant dreams (not me, though). The large ant was an It but this It was called Mother and it lives in a world behind this world. A world known as the dead zone, perhaps?
I did love this novel, but not for reasons you may think. I love it because I can see an evolved thought-process when it comes to King's writings. The way he intertwines the intricacies of the story is always amazing. He's always been able to take some small element from the beginning and intersperse it's importance all the way through. He's always been able to tie together multiple seemingly random incidents throughout his novels and combine them into one amazing conclusion at the end. That's why I love King. That's why I love his novels. Not because they scare me. Because he is one hell of a writer who is always evolving.