Needful Things by Stephen King
I’m going to start this review by mentioning the fact that I am WAY behind on writing up my book reviews. It appears that I am about 4 books behind and, for that, I apologize. I guess it’s a good thing that, lately, I’ve been more in the mood to read than I have to write. But I’m going to force myself to sit and try and catch up…I have finished some great books in the past few weeks that I’m excited to share.
Anyway….on to the review:
As I have mentioned before, I am a HUGE Stephen King fan…I’ve been reading and loving his books since I first read The Shining when I was about 12 years old. I’m slowly working to reread some of his books that I first read decades ago as well as reading some of his others for the first time. Needful Things falls into the later category. It’s a book that I’ve heard a lot of positive things about, but for some reason or another, never picked up until now.
Our story starts in the small Maine town of Castle Rock (the very same town from King’s short story, The Body, and film, Stand by Me as well as Cujo)… where we meet Polly Chalmers, the proprietor of You Sew and Sew as well as Sheriff Alan Pangborn, who is in charge of keeping the peace of the sleepy town. Fans of Stephen King will relish in some familiar names and stories about this town….Cujo, the murderous dog…Ace Merrill, the local criminal delinquent….but there is also a new citizen to Castle Rock, Leland Gaunt. Mr. Gaunt is a stranger to everyone in the town, but he immediately peaks everyone’s interest when he opens a strange and mysterious store called Needful Things. This interesting place seems to be a unique thrift-type store that carries a little bit of everything and the most interesting thing about it is that it seems to carry just the perfect thing for each and every citizen of Castle Rock. The price of each item is also a point of interest….Leland Gaunt doesn’t post the prices on his items….each item has a very specific cost depending on just how much someone is willing to pay for their most desperate wants and desires. The costs are high….very high….but it doesn’t seem to stop any of the customers from purchasing these needs. What Leland Gaunt knows that nobody else seems to is: EVERYTHING is for sale and everything has a price.
This was a phenomenal story and I absolutely loved every minute of it! I actually listened to the audiobook version of this solely because King narrates it himself and it was simply amazing! As with typical King novels, you get a wonderful insight into each of the characters that all becomes interwoven with a genius plot and storyline. King’s immense imagination and ability to describe the most perfect scenarios and details will never cease to amaze me and Needful Things is no exception. While this story has a definite creepy and ominous feel, it’s not overly gory or too far into the horror genre…so if you shy away from King because of that, this is a pretty “safe” choice in that aspect. The idea that people might give up their morals just for the opportunity to have their most desperate wants and desires is the central theme of this story. As with most King books, the central antagonist, Leland Gaunt, is terrifically creepy, evil and manipulative. I also really enjoyed the small tie-ins with other familiar King characters and story lines …it’s like a nice little surprise for regular fans.
Needful Things has definitely earned it’s place in my Top 5 favorite King books….so if you haven’t yet read this one and you are a fan of his work, I highly recommend it!
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Needful Things – Amazon