By: Stephen King
Nothing much ever happens in Castle Rock. People get up, go to work, gossip, and go to sleep waiting to repeat the cycle the following day. Few attractions would ever bring a visitor to this small Maine town aside from stories about Cujo, the rabid dog who terrorized Castle Rock for three solid days.
However, there is something else that exists, fundamental and largely unseen, at the heart of a small town: feuds. Castle Rock is known to have quite a few. Everyone hates someone, but that’s just life.
For Leland Gaunt, such a town is the perfect place to set up his business.
In his shop, Needful Things, patrons can have their heart’s desire for two small and reasonable prices: cash and a deed. However, the residents of Castle Rock will soon find that the possessions they covet have a much higher price than they were led to believe.
I could go on and try to give you a lengthy, detailed synopsis about how this book represents the evil of Consumerism and Capitalism and blah blah blah…but I’m not going to do that. One because this isn’t a school essay, and two because ain’t nobody got time for that. You’re welcome.
What I will tell you is that this book is about how people convince themselves of the worth of their material possessions. Needful Thingsembodies how people hoard those material possessions and believe, deeply, that to own such items is a need rather than a want. That need poisons people.
As a Stephen King fan, I really enjoyed this novel. I thought the plot was fleshed out nicely with attention to fine details, but at 802 pages, the story was a minor undertaking. Just the sheer number of character’s names proved difficult and overwhelming at times. Regardless, I settled into the story with the same ease as so many other readers. King knows how to hook us and keep us engaged more so than any other author I’ve encountered.
Gaunt to me is not a terrifying villain. As with most King stories, the people are the real terrors. The human aspect is never lost though sometimes it is overshadowed. In Castle Rock, the townspeople take center stage. Gaunt doesn’t even have to dirty his hands.
As promised, everything goes to Hell in a handbasket for a significant portion of the story. Never a dull moment. If you want gruesome and occasionally unfair deaths with protagonists you can get behind, this is the book for you.
Overall rating: 4.5 stars
P.S. I’m a huge Rick and Morty fan, so when I realized this book was the inspiration for the Needful Things episode, I kinda lost my mind.