Joyland is in many ways a typical Stephen King novel – young man coming of age by facing some supernatural adversity. However, with Joyland, he was able to keep it fresh by focusing on the relationships instead of the mystery and ultimate showdown for more than 60% of the story.
Our narrator, Devin Jones, is in his 60s and tells us the story of the summer he went to North Carolina and worked at Joyland – a small amusement park. His is a story of heartache, friendship and spooky ghosts.
Overall it is an excellent book. I especially loved the friendship between Devin, Tom and Erin (two other summer workers). And, Annie and Mike – King really knows how to break your heart while making you feel warm and fuzzy at the same time. Mike is a special little boy and I wish I knew him. Each character is so well written that you feel that you are right there with them. I wanted to ride the Carolina Spin with Mike and experience his excitement first hand.
King’s writing rarely causes any issues for me as a reader. We usually click. But, there were a few very minor things that bothered me in Joyland. First, the word “ideations” is used multiple times. Maybe I am being picky but when it seems that a writer has a new word that they are trying to use it keeps the prose from flowing for me. Also, it’s pretty clear through most of the book that the park is in North Carolina. When Devin asks one of his trainers about licensing he says, “In South Carolina, a valid DLs all you need.” Contrary to popular belief the Carolinas are not interchangeable.
Aside from my pickiness, I did really enjoy this one and would recommend it highly. 4/5 stars.