Tag Archives: Simon & Schuster

Review: The Need

The Need

The Need
By Helen Phillips
Simon & Schuster, 9781982113162, July 2019, 272pp.

The Short of It:

I’d be lying if I said I fully understood everything that went on in this novel.

The Rest of It:

Molly is a scientist. I believe a paleobotonist if I’m remembering correctly. She spends her day analyzing fossils and giving tours to people curious about her team’s findings. Of late, some strange things have shown up in the pit, including an alternative Bible where God is a “she”, a shiny penny, and some pottery pieces. These items are odd enough to draw an interesting crowd. Religious fanatics begin to show up along with dozens of pieces of hate mail.

When not at work, Molly is completely overwhelmed by motherhood. One morning, while her husband is away on business, she finds herself scrambling for safety within her own home when an intruder shows up and threatens the well-being of herself and her two young children.  An intruder, wearing a deer’s head mask.

This is a bizarre read. It’s labeled as speculative fiction and I would agree with that. I honestly did not know what the heck was going on. Is Molly out of her mind? Is she dead? Dreaming?  On drugs? What? In a short amount of time, the identity of the intruder is revealed and then it gets REALLY weird.

Without giving anything away, I will say that if the point of the novel is to emphasize how motherhood can completely overtake you and change you both physically and mentally, then Helen Phillips accomplished that. Molly’s adventures in motherhood completely drain her. She is literally sucked dry by her breastfeeding son, and her daughter’s astute observations of what is going on serve to remind Molly just how much her brain has turned to mush since becoming a mother. This part, is very accurate.

But the rest of the story is very Twilight Zone-ish and odd. Some of it was disturbing to read only because it made me uncomfortable. Much of it is raw and blunt. The scientific element was interesting but not fully explored. I hesitate to say that this would be a good book for a club to discuss because I can see many hating it. Especially those who have never been a mom. But, it’s odd enough and pieced together in such a way that it warrants a discussion. In that sense, it would be great book to discuss.

Have any of you read it? From the cover, I thought the story would be about alien plants. Seriously.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Sleeping Beauties

Sleeping Beauties

Sleeping Beauties
By Stephen and Owen King
Print: Scribner Book Company, 9781501163401, September 2017, 720pp.
AudioMarin Ireland (Narrator), Simon & Schuster Audio (Publisher)

(Note: Review of both audio and print copies)

The Short of It:

After falling asleep, women around the world find themselves wrapped in a cocoon-like substance.  Alive, but for how long?

The Rest of It:

I read Sleeping Beauties as part of a read along (@sleepingbeautiesRAL).  Truth be told, I always look forward to King’s fall releases but this one was a little different. Mainly, because he wrote it with his son, Owen. However, the tone of the book was very different from what he’s written before.

Much of the story details how one particular town is overtaken by this “webbing” and how the male inhabitants, although baffled by it, are also terrified that their significant others, their daughters, mothers and sisters may never come out of this dream state. This is a real concern for them but for some, it begs the question, why? Why are they so concerned? Because their loved ones will never be the same? Or because they will now be forced to live without women taking care of the house? The kids?

Sleeping Beauties is a horror novel but not in the traditional King sense. It’s King’s way of burning a bra without owning one. It’s a poster-waving tribute to women’s rights but the agenda was too obvious and much of it felt scripted. There are no surprises here and truthfully, I felt a little depressed when I turned the last page.

Because some of you have asked, I could tell which sections King wrote and which sections his son wrote. All of the weird, quirky mannerisms and the setting of the stage, felt like Uncle Stevie to me. The progression of the story felt like Owen may have handled that part. Of course, I can’t know for sure but that is my guess.  It would be interesting to know their writing process for this one.

Audio & Print

I read this in print and listened to it on audio. I tried both formats because in print, the visuals were pretty stunning. King is so good at setting the stage. The audio copy was pretty respectable though. Read by Marin Ireland, I felt she did an admirable job of giving each of the many characters a true, authentic voice.  As you may know, King loves to includes lots of characters and this book was no exception.

In the end, the story left me wanting . I feel dissatisfied and a little angry. Perhaps, this is the point.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.