Under the Dome

Under the Dome

by: Stephen King

Published: 2009

# of pages: 1072

Quote: "'Cinnamon graham crackers rock,' Aidan said. 'I love you, Caro.'
Carolyn smiled. She thought no poem she'd ever read had been so beautiful. Not even the Williams one about the cold plums." -p. 851

I have to admit, this is only the second Stephen King book I've read. A few years ago I read Cell. My mom was reading this a couple of months ago and I was intrigued and had to check it out. I'm glad I did, but it was disturbing, more so than Cell.

The story is about a small town in Maine that is suddenly and mysteriously covered by a impenetrable dome. As anyone can imagine, the appearance of the dome causes many tragic accidents which are followed by confusion and speculation. There's a myriad of characters in the town, including a corrupted power hungry "second town selectman," his psycho son, an ex-military lieutenant working as a cook in the town's diner, a determined newspaper woman, a caring physician's assistant, a twisted preacher, a confused preacher, and a cool geek genius teenager as well as many others.

As you can tell from the presence of two preachers in the list of main characters, religion plays a big (and not so great) part in the book. I think it's a motif of King's to use twisted religious characters (??). They claim to be great Christians, but often they end up being horrible bad guys who use religion as a cover up or even as an excuse to do wrong. It kind of bothered me since I'm a Christian. Most of the time this use of religion in stories and movies doesn't bother me because I think it can be more original and, unfortunately, it is often true that bad people claim to be Christians and even quote the Bible while doing terrible things. However, something about this book did kind of bother me. I felt that King went out of his way to convey bitter personal opinions. Of course, this is the only book I've read that has that, I'm just basing this speculation from watching "The Shawshank Redemption." lol

Anyway, after the town accepts the presence of the dome, the second town selectman, Rennie, uses the citizens' confusion to take control and create a police presence (controlled by him) in the town. A few people decide to stand up to him and to try to find the source of the dome and hopefully discover how to make it disappear. Barbie is the ex-military lieutenant who got on Rennie's bad side after fighting with the selectman's son, Junior. He leads the resistance along with Julia, the newspaper woman who stands up to Rennie and pays the price. Rusty is a physician's assistant at the local hospital who suddenly becomes a leader in many ways after the dome appears. He tries his best to help everyone and still be a good husband and father. These characters join up with other characters trying to help and solve the town's problems and they all face dangers together in the days following the dome's appearance.

Not only is Rennie trying to take over the town, but there's a crazy drug addict, The Chef, living on the edge of town who feels it is his job to punish everyone for their sins. He's a hidden threat that people only slightly understand, which makes him even more dangerous. There's also a band of thugs roaming the towns streets and hurting anyone who gets in their way. Add to the mix the bad air, lack of rain, and other environmental hardships and you have a pretty miserable town.

Overall the book is very depressing and graphically violent. It's very detailed and a lot of terrible things happen to innocent people. There's also a lot of nasty language. I don't really know why I kept reading it, but it is a very fascinating story that keeps you hooked. There's some great characters and there were a few characters I was rooting for and wanted to find out what happened to them. There was one character in particular that I found myself attached to. I told myself that if that character died I would put the book down and never pick it up again, even if I only had a few pages left. I'll go into more details below so that I don't spoil the book for those interested in reading it! Needless to say, I finished the book. :-)

Anyway, I only give this book three stars because there wasn't quite enough in there to make up for the violence and language. There was also one thing about the plot that bothered me. I will also go into details below so I don't spoil it. This is a sci-fi book that might be a little too "out there" for some, but I recommend it to fans of the sci-fi genre, fans of King's novels and stories, and those who like an action packed (but LONG) book!

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

The character I became attached to was that of Little Walter Bushey, an 18 month old boy. He doesn't play a major part, but I just couldn't stand the thought that anything would happen to him. There's several times in the book that he's in a dangerous situation, but thankfully he survives!!! lol I don't know why I felt so strongly about his safety that I'd actually stop reading if he didn't make it, but I did.

Also, the part of the plot that I thought should have been slightly changed was when Rusty finds the box generating the dome and then makes the connection shortly after that the "leatherheads" are children "playing" with the town. He didn't seem to have any concrete feeling about it, it was just an idea. Then another character sees the leatherheads and confirms that they are children. I felt like it would have been more natural if Rusty discovered the leatherheads, but then another character had a strong feeling that they were children. THEN Rusty could have made the connection to his past friend who would torture ants. Anyway, not a big deal, but I just felt like their discovery was rushed and a little too convenient.

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