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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Secret Window, Secret Garden -- a review from Kate of Kate's Library!

Today's guest review comes from Kate of Kate's Library!  Take it away, Kate!

Title:  Secret Window, Secret Garden
Author:  Stephen King
Pages:  150
Genre:  Fiction, horror, short story
Source:  The Library!
What youll love:  The personal way Stephen King tells you a story.
What will bug you:  Ill admit it - I didnt care for Amy all that much.

Mort is a writerHes in the middle of a divorce with his wife, Amy - and this has displaced him from their home in Derry, Maine, to their cabin in Tashmore, MaineMort is awakened from his afternoon nap by a man named John Shooter standing on his front porch holding a manuscript.  “You stole my storyYou stole my story and somethings got to be done about itRight is right and fair is fair and something has to be done.”  What follows is a terrifying glimpse into Morts next three days - trying to prove that he has stolen nothing from Shooter.

I think that many people hearStephen Kingand picture gory horror novelsThis is simply not the caseWell - yesThey can have their gory momentsHowever, this is not really what makes them scaryTheres a psychological component to Kings stories that makes your hair stand on endHis characters are a little too realWhen I was a child I wasnt afraid of a monster under my bedI was afraid of a psychopath hiding outside my windowBecause crazy people are real, kids - and we see them every day.

My favorite part about reading Stephen King is the personal way he tells his story to youMy usual complaint about short stories is that I dont always feel Ive had enough time to become intimate with the charactersStephen King completely solves this for youThere are so many moments when you feel as though you are privy to the characters inner thoughtsKing is in the middle of laying out a scene, when all of a sudden

the paragraph breaks and we hear what the character is thinking

and then he continues as though nothing has happenedI love thisYou are with that character in that moment and you are familiar with everything they are feeling and thinkingYou are completely immersed.

Stephen King also has a way of making you feel very familiar with the characterIll give you an exampleIf Im talking about my Mother to a co-worker I would sayMy Mother thinks these jeans look too long.”  If Im talking to a close friend I may sayMom thinks these jeans look too long.”  Its more personal because I am on that comfortable level with my friendKing does this when he talks about Morts cat, Bump.  (Id also like to tell you that I loveBumpas a cat name and plan to use it someday in the future.)  He draws you - the reader - in on that personal levelIts notShe may meet the same fate as Morts cat, Bump.”  ItsShell meet the same fate as Bump.”  Its a small detail, but it makes a difference.

The only part of the story I didnt enjoy was AmyI thought she was selfishIt certainly didnt ruin the story for me - but I did find her irritating

The psychological component of this book is what makes it creepyTheres nothing supernatural going onFrom the moment you meet John Shooter, you are convinced this man is... 1 - insane.  2 - angry.  3 - dangerousThere was never a moment when I felt Shooter could be brushed offAnd even scarier, there was never a moment when I thought he could be convinced Mort did not steal his story.

Such a great read - quick, fabulous, and perfect for the season!

Thanks, Kate!  I've had this short story collection on my shelves for some time (25¢ for hardcover at a yard sale!), but I have yet to read this story.  I have heard good things about it, though, and your review confirms them, so one of these days...
Thanks for being a guest on Book Rat!

Happy Helluva Halloween, everyone!



  1. I have to admit I haven't read anything written by Stephen King yet, even if I have his books on my wishlist. Which book should I begin with?

  2. I'd say start with some of his short stories. If you're looking for something longer, I really loved "The Shining". Totally different than the movie and so well done!

  3. Thank you for the recommendation, Kate! :D I'm going to read The Shining very soon. >_<

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