Book Review: Lisey’s Story

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Lisey Landon lost her husband Scott two years ago, after a twenty-five-year marriage of profound, sometimes frightening intimacy. Scott was a celebrated, award-winning, novelist. And a complex man. Lisey knew there was a dark place where her husband ventured to face his demons. Boo’ya Moon is what Scott called it; a realm that both terrified and healed him, that could eat him alive or give him the ideas he needed to write and live. Now, it’s Lisey’s turn to face her husband’s demons. And what begins as a widow’s effort to sort through her husband’s effects, becomes a perilous journey into the heart of darkness

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Title: Lisey’s Story

Author: Stephen King

Published: October 2006 by Scribner Book Company

Time it took me to read: 10/05 – 29/05

Rating: 3 out of 5

the story

Two years after the tragic death of famous writer Scott Landon, his widow Lisey finally has worked up the courage of cleaning out his workplace. Many hidden treasures are hidden here, treasures that more than one collector wants to get their hands on but Lisey has been able to keep them away from what remains of her husband’s legacy. But as she breaks ground on this project, things seem to go horribly wrong.

Scott was a troubled man, growing up with an abusive father who had taken it on himself to make sure that he and his sons regularly let out ‘the bad-gunky’ by making blood-bools to make sure they stayed sane, until one day his brother Paul is overtaken with the real bad-gunky and dies. All his life Scott has had to deal with the consequences of what happened to Paul and took to Boo’ya Moon to heal and find whatever he needed to cope with what was happening.

Now it is Lisey’s turn to take over from Scott. Danger comes from two sides as her oldest sister is taken ill and seems to have permanently vacated the premises and a dangerous southerner is threatening her to ‘hurt her where she wouldn’t let boys in middle school touch’ if she doesn’t turn in Scott’s unpublished work to certain professor.

Lisey is forced to follow the clues that Scott seemed to have laid out for her before (or after) his death to make it out of this one alive. Through flashbacks, we learn about Scott and Lisey’s marriage and that Boo’ya Moon is not just the imaginary place where Scott got his inspiration, but an actual mystical land where many dangers lie, and where Lisey has to go to save her sister, and herself.

my thoughts

Okay so here’s the thing. I love Stephen King to death, I really do. But every once in a while there’s this book where I think ‘whyyyyyy’. This especially happens when at first it seems to be a non-supernatural story that works really well, when suddenly he plomps in this magical world. This happened in Rose Madder, an amazing book about a battered woman when suddenly her abusive ex husband turns into an ox and she takes him inside of a painting where he is dealt with (sounds familiar maybe?), and it happened again with Lisey’s Story. I think that if Boo’ya Moon would have remained an imaginary place, his creative refuge maybe, I would have liked it so so so much better.

The story is really very compelling though, from the first page you just keep reading. I do have to say that it’s very confusing, you don’t really find out what is actually happening or what the plot is until you’re maybe halfway through the book. But if you keep with it, you’ll be fine. You won’t regret it. At least I didn’t.

What did annoy me a little were the many ‘Scott-isms’ that are used. A couple is fine, especially if they add to the story, but after ‘bad-gunky’, ‘SOWISA’, ‘smucking’, ‘bool’ and ‘boo’ya moon’, I thought it was enough. Scott seemed to have a different word for everything and that’s great, he’s a creative genius, but we don’t need to hear every single one multiple times.

Speaking of creative genius.. I don’t care how much they loved each other but if my boyfriend put his hand through a greenhouse window so he can bleed for me as an apology when I’m upset with him, I’m running in the opposite direction. Like seriously. What the hell, Lisey.

I did enjoy our crazy Southern friend in the story. He reminded me a little bit of the guy from Secret Window, but it turned out to be something completely different. I think if it would have been a non-supernatural stalking/crazy person story, it would have been perfect.

But of course, it remains a SK book and that means that even if I don’t agree with certain decisions he made, it is still awesome. You won’t regret reading it. 3 out of 5 stars for Lisey’s Story.

SOWISA, babyluv, Strap On Whenever It Seems Appropriate

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Author: EMK

Just blogging away in my free time while I try to make something of my life

7 thoughts on “Book Review: Lisey’s Story”

  1. Wow, your review sums up how I felt about this book PERFECTLY! There were far, far too many Scott-isms especially because so many of them aren’t explained and you spend the first few chapters with no idea what anyone’s talking about. I also felt like making Boo’ya Moon a ‘real’ place was a bit of a cop-out because keeping it as a real world story might have been harder to read (and write) but it was just so believable until that point.

    The other thing I struggled with was the scenes of self-mutilation, something I find really hard to think/read/hear about and the ones in this book were just so graphic that at times it was hard to keep reading. But since it was SK I did keep reading. Like you, even though I had a hard time and didn’t particularly enjoy it at times I was still gripped!

    1. Great minds man.. great minds.

      It literally took me almost the whole book to figure out what exactly a ‘bool’ was. Too many weird words. I mean, miss one sentence and you never find out what an ‘African’ is.

      I agree with you on the self-mutilation part. It feels weird.. Was there no other way to let out the ‘bad-gunky’, and did it help even? As both his Dad and Paul went crazy in the end even with the bloodletting. This book should definitely come with a trigger warning, I think.

      Mister King, evil genius mastermind.

      1. I’d say read Carrie first, it’s short enough to get familiar with his writing without it being too long-winded (I think IT or Pet Semetary would be a bad first SK book as it takes so long to get going) but epic enough to get you hooked.

  2. I admit I’ve never read a Stephen King novel. Mainly because I’m a massive wuss and the horror genre kind of scares me, so I might not be checking this one out in a hurry, but a lovely review! 🙂

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