Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I Swore I Wouldn't Do Another Review
I know I said that I wouldn't do more of these -- and I won't -- but I have to talk about Blaze by "Richard Bachman", aka Stephen King.
I've loved Stephen King since I was a kid. He was one of the first adult books I ever read -- I believe it was The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, but I'm not entirely sure. Anyway, the point is, I really like him. Most of his books are enjoyable to me. They may not always be legendary, but they always provide me with entertainment. I am unfortunate enough to say that I have only read one of the "Bachman" books: Roadwork.
The difference between King's books and Bachman's books is a very noticeable tone change, while the style of writing stays about the same. Bachman books are always sad books, in my opinion. While King focuses on the more fantastic and horrible events, Bachman's stuff is about ordinary people who just happen to get the shaft. His books are, I think, some of King's best work. They always pull on my heart strings.
Blaze is no different. Blaze is about a man named Clayton Blaisdell, Jr -- aka Blaze. Poor Blaze used to love to read when he was little, and he wasn't too bad at math. Unfortunately, he lived in a broken home with a horrible father who got drunk and angry one day and threw him down the stair...and the took him back up...and threw him down again. Now Blaze doesn't think as good as he used to. Reading and math aren't easy like they used to be. They're hard now.
Blaze grows up to be big. Really big. 6'7 big. And like most big, stupid people, he's recruited as the intimidator in a bunch of crimes. He meets a man named George who decides to pull of the biggest scam ever by kidnapping a rich family's kid. However, George dies just before the scheme can begin. Blaze, not knowing what else to do, decides to continue with the plan.
Blaze is structured to alternate every now and then between Blaze's current situation during the kidnapping, and every now and then a chapter or two about Blaze's life growing up in, basically an orphanage.
This book, like a lot of other Bachman books, puts a regular guy in a horrible situation. My heart went out to Blaze. After he kidnaps the kid, he begins to view the kid like his own son. He grows to love the little guy, and like a mama bear protecting her cubs, becomes fiercely protective. As you read, you begin to like Blaze. He's not a bad guy, just dumb. And after reading the rough life that Blaze has had, you feel so bad for him. This pity or sorrow or whatever you call it is increased when you realize that, although Blaze wants to, he can't keep the kid. You find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place. I couldn't pick who to root for, simple and sweet Blaze, or the cops who are just trying to get the kid back home.
If you like Stephen King, this is a must to pick up. He really shines here. If you're on the fence about it, pick it up anyway. The story is so heart wrenching, you'll find yourself almost in tears by the end.