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From The Desk Of

Book Review: Needful Things

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

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“Everyone loves something for nothing...even if it costs everything.”

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I struggled with giving this book a 3 star or 4 star rating. Here's why;

Stephen King is a master at taking seemingly average characters and placing them in extraordinary circumstances. He's gone on record, numerous times, about how much he enjoys 'trapping' characters in an event and seeing how they escape-if they escape.

Needful Things runs with this idea, in this case a cast of characters' very home town being their place of entrapment. When a new store opens in town, the offers inside seem far too good to be true. Unfortunately for the town's inhabitants, they'll soon learn the true cost of their very hearts' desire.

I would have given this book a 3 star rating because, although I like the large cast of characters, I found it getting very repetitive with how each townsperson went through their own hardships. Everyone would enter the shop Needful Things, they'd be talked into whatever treasure gleamed at them, and they'd have to do some 'trick' to earn said item. Every single person follows the same steps, so it just got kind of monotonous to me. At least their own personal experiences with their individual artifacts were different enough to be interesting.

But then I rose the rating to a 4 star because I loved the clever nods to other stories of Uncle Stevie's that took place in or around Castle Rock. Cujo, Dead Zone, The Dark Half, IT, and more are referenced in some great ways. Being a follower of the greater universe of SK's work, I really appreciated it.

I still recommend this book. The villain, Mr Gaunt, is a clever character and a great personification of the sort of dark powers out there that King manages to dream up.

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