Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Devil Keeps Showing Up in All These Books I Like..?

I like to think that I'm a reader with a wide variety of tastes. Sometimes I don't think that thats true. I finished a book recently ("The Devil and Miss Prym", more below on that) and got to thinking. For being a religious person, and for not being able to watch scary movies because I will be scared for months if not YEARS; the devil shows up in some books I've really enjoyed. Hmm. Let's examine my psyche further shall we?

Just kidding, we're going to talk about books.


Our story takes place in Castle Rock, Maine (because, it's King). A stranger comes to this small town and opens a store called Needful Things. His name is Leland Gaunt, and he's not just any stranger, as the people of this small town will find out. In his store he holds the thing you want the most (like a Sandy Koufax baseball card) and at first he asks you only for a small, seemingly harmless action in return. And you do it because, you know, you must have this thing! But things get out of control (quickly!) and the town descends into violence and madness and all horrible things. Leland never forces anyone to do anything. There's always a choice.

This was one of my first Stephen King books, and I love it. It showed me that Stephen King doesn't need things like a rabid family pet or a horrifying mist to be monsters. Sometimes the monster is already in us and just needs an excuse to get out. Like I said, Leland never forces anyone to do anything. All the chaos that ensues could have been prevented. 

I love the winding intricate nature of this book, and also the fact that everything is basically batsh*t crazy at the end. It's probably in my Top Ten of All Time! (A hallowed list that changes constantly, haha)


There is a village called Viscos. (In my head it's in Spain, that might not be true). It's far up in the mountains, removed from the world. The villagers know that the village is dying, and they might be the last generation on the mountain. Then a stranger comes to town. He focuses his attention on Chantal Prym, the last young person in the town. Only Berta, an old woman in the village, can see that the Devil walks with the stranger and that the fate of the village could be completely changed in a week, but at what cost?

This book talks about the big topics: Good and Evil. Can we do something terrible if we can justify that it's for the good of many people? Is the murder of an innocent person ever justified? Do guardian angels make mistakes? What I thought that was interesting about this book is that even though it talks about the Devil and angels it's not particularly religious. Like, no one is like well we shouldn't kill this person because that would be a sin. Everyone is like "is this a moral choice?" That probably doesn't make any sense, I'm sorry. Sometimes I'm not a good explainer. Anyway I thought this book was really interesting, tightly written and tense. And short! I think one of the most interesting things in the books was "Ahab's Day of Atonement".


(I've talked about this book before, if it sounds vaguely familiar to you!)
This book takes place in a backwoods Canadian town. Poverty, addiction and violence are pretty common place. The main group of characters is a small group of teenage friends; most of whom are good, and are trying to stay out of trouble. Then the Devil comes to town. (Of course he does). He appears to everyone differently, an in no instance is the pitchfork and tail version. This appearance slowly upends each of the teenagers lives and the people around them due to quite the ripple effect. There is also the matter of the native girls who keep getting kidnapped on the highway....

One of the things that I remember most about reading this book was my reaction to it. I generally don't physically react to books I read but not in this case. There was a lot of horrified gasps, and "eek!" and other noises that I'm sure alarmed my husband. It's not boogeyman/thrasher scary but it is scary. (Also would be a good choice if someone needed something for a diversity read!)

Addendum - I can't believe I forgot to include another favorite: "Your House is on Fire, All Your Children are Gone". The Devil only makes a brief appearance, but it's a dozy, He gets a curious boy to capture and trade the soul of his sister so he can have a peek into actual Hell. That book is ridiculous but I think I talk about it on the blog more than any other book. Sorry Ray Bradbury :( 


Honestly, I think that I just like books that talk about the internal struggle between Good and Evil. It's something that everyone struggles with on a different level. I believe that everyone holds inside of them the capacity to do both wonderful and terrible things.


  1. Ooooo...what interesting books! The Stephen King one sounds really interesting and it doesn't have a murderous clown, so high five for that!

    1. No murderous clowns or rabid family dogs! Just normal people monsters in this one! They also made it into a tv movie which is very 80s and not as good as the book, but you still get the feel of the story.

  2. That last cover is creepy! I still haven't mustered up the courage to read Stephen King, and now you're scaring me even more. I've read A Man Came Out of a Door and think I should re-read since I read it at a very bad time ...

    1. Absolutely try it again some time. There are def books where you just read them at not a good time and it's bleh. I've done that too!

  3. Wow. Interesting books here! And I agree, that last book is just what nightmares are made of!! I would never want to own that copy haha.A Man Came Out sounds really intriguing though.

    1. It looks scarier the longer you look at it! And if you hold the cover at a certain angle you can see this clear, shiny words that say something like "Don't tell" or "we'll never tell" or something like that. Eeeeeek! :)


Thank you so much for your comment. I'd love to talk books with you!