Dreamcatcher Book Review

“I was in pain all the time {while writing that book}. I couldn’t keyboard that book at a computer or a typewriter. I was in a chair with pillows on both sides of me, particularly on my right where my hip just hurt all the time and my lower leg was on fire. I wasn’t sleeping very well. I was taking a lot of painkillers that weren’t helping very much. And at the same time, the book took me away when I had a chance to write it.” -SK

 

Bookstore Totals

  • Published on  March 20th, 2001 by Scribner
  • Debuted on #1 The New York Times Best Seller List April 8th, 2001
  • Stayed #1 for 3 weeks in a row
  • Was nominated at the Deutscher Phantastik Preis Awards for Best International Novel in 2002

 

I read this book when it released back in 2001 when I was 23 years old. By then, I had read everything that Stephen King had put out. The problem that I had withDreamcatcher then was that I couldn’t relate with any of the characters being just 23; a young 23 mind you.

Now, some 13 years later, I have revisited the novel and have a totally better understanding of what Dreamcatcher is at its core. And this time around I related to all four of the characters in some way at the age of 35; Beav, Pete, Henry and Jonesy, each of them has an authenticity factor that drew me into them and into the enveloping story. They (the characters) seem real to me, and outside of their special powers, they are like people who I know today.200px-Dreamcatchernovel

If you are a fan of the novel and are a King fan, you already know what this book is about. There’s no use in going over the story chapter by chapter. The novel that I put back on my bookshelf back in ’01 strangely wasn’t the same book that I pulled off a few nights ago. I was shocked, too, that time had changed my view of a novel that I wasn’t all that much into. Time has a way of changing the way you see and understand things. Listen, life is long and opinions change.

The thing that I have learned with King that I hadn’t learned when I was younger was that the older and mature you get, the more you understand not only King’s complex stories but you harness a better sense of the characters and their thought processes. Most of the people in his books are relatable to me now days. Maybe it’s because of my age and I have run into these types of people in my travels. Back when I was a kid at 12 when I first picked up The Shining, I didn’t get it. I mean, I understood it, but not to the depths of what he was conveying to an older generation than me.

Reviews of Dreamcatcher vary from good to bad to middle of the road. I read one the other night from CNN.com from 2001 where the author of the review said that Dreamcatcher “Overall, it doesn’t work”. Really? Doesn’t work? I think it works…

Why Dreamcatcher works:


  1. Dreamcatcher works because it has that sense of profound friendship that I love in his books. I had a group of friends growing-up and I recall how we all hung out and did things together. It was like we were brothers. The group of Beav, Pete, Henry and Jonesy and later Duddits harkened back to me and my friends. There was that relatable connection for me in the book. And when I can relate to the book it makes it more than a book to me; it makes it a journey. King has a way of taking you back to not only the character’s childhood, but often times (if you were lucky) even back to your own. King is really good at tapping this emotion in all of us.
  1. Dreamcatcher works because it had that “fate of the entire world” theme in it. I love that. I love that a single, ordinary person (well, maybe not so ordinary in the case of the characters in this novel) can save the world no matter the odds. I like the fact that it comes down to a beaten up and physically exhausted Jonesy trying to save his mind, body and the world at the water supply at Shaft 12.
  1. Dreamcatcher works because it keeps you guessing. It’s not a novel that is straightforward or that has been “repeated” in his other works. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know if the detainees at Gosslin’s are all going to be barbecued; You don’t know if Jonesy and Henry will make it out alive at the end of the book. That kept me turning the pages. I even wondered what was going to become of Mr. Gray because it was such a dominating force in the novel. If anyone says this novel’s plot was predictable is crazy. But then again everyone, such as myself, is entitled to their opinion.
  1. Dreamcatcher works because it had an antagonist character in Abe Kurtz that was a cool driving force in the background of the book. With so much going on, so many things happening in different character’s lives at different places around the same times, Kurtz was that wild card that you didn’t know what he was going to do or to what ends he was going to make it happen. Let’s face it, he was pretty unstable. But just like all crazy people, he justified his insanity (at least to himself). I literally smiled when Freddy shot and killed him. One of many highlights of the book for me.
  1. Dreamcatcher works because I love the fact that the Losers Club (if only in words) made it in the book at the monument marking the 1985 storm there in Derry. I love a good call back to his other books. Obviously if you’re a King fan then you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, then go read It!

All in all, I liked this book when I was 23, but now at 35, I love this novel! It was hard to put down and it was literally like I was reading it for the first time. Such a different book that I put on the bookshelf in 2001 in comparison to now. Perhaps the biggest reason for that is because I have gotten older and wiser and see the world with different lenses. In my opinion, this is one of King’s most underrated books and it shouldn’t be. It’s a really solid novel! But then again…that’s just my opinion.

Dreamcatcher catches a–4/5 (Awesome)

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