Monday, March 12, 2012

Book Review: Insomnia By Stephen King

It took me well over a month to read this book. That is a LONG time for me. I'm the person who can blast through a book in a single weekend normally.

Well, not this book. Every time I would pick this book up to read a few more pages, I swear it had expanded to 800 times longer than it was the last time I tried to read a few more pages. It felt like a bad case of insomnia (pun totally intended), wrapped up all nice and neat in a softcover package.

I finished the last 100 pages or so on my lunch break today, so I'm not totally sure how it ended. I kind of skimmed over most of that part. I mean, it wasn't a bad book. I was just ready to be done with it. I'm sure there are a lot of details I missed, but I'm okay with that.

Insomnia by Stephen King

All the reviews I read warned of the magnitude of this novel. They all said things like "if you have a nice weekend, pick up a nice book; if you have a nice trip to the moon planned, pick THIS book." I can't say that I agree more.

This was the never-ending book, to me. It felt like it grew in length. Every time I would try to read a few pages there were suddenly 50 more shuffled in at the end, taunting me.

Now, it is not a bad book, overall. It is not a particularly good book either, but it is a Stephen King book, which probably accounts for it's popularity.

I started reading this book with the initial thought that maybe Ralph (the protagonist) would enter his insomniac state like all good insomniacs do, with no prior warning. Yet Ralph's insomnia grows on him, like a fungus. At first he is simply losing a few minutes, maybe an hour of sleep a night. Then he realizes that he is consistently losing more and more sleep each night. That's when he starts seeing what he calls "auras".

This is where the book deviates from my expectations of it. I thought maybe Ralph's insomnia was some sort of window into the underworld of Derry. Maybe he was going to see into the world that housed It, the notorious child-eating clown monster, or maybe there were other monsters lurking in/under Derry that you could only see if you were severely sleep deprived. This is not entirely what happens to Ralph. Yes, he starts to see things that "normal" people can't see, but what he sees is not really "monsters". Ralph is seeing a part of the world that exists around our normal world. I mean, I guess this is where the monsters could live, but that's not exactly what happens.

I'm not entirely sure what happens, honestly. The book is very long. It is very convoluted. There's a big fuss about Right To Lifers that exists as a subplot with good reason.

Needless to say, I was ready for this novel to end about 300 pages before it ever really did.

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