Thursday, April 29, 2021

Retro Horror Vol. 8 - The Buddy Read Version


This time around Stormi already had a book chosen for her pick and as I been meaning to do some King re-reads,  I jumped on it along with her.  However, somehow, I ended up with the extended version and I didn't even KNOW there was an extended version.  What is about King wanting to make long books even longer?  So the outcome of this story brought to light the fact that I am now questioning how much I love King.  I have always said I love older King better, but seriously, I'm rating newer King much higher.  Go figure. So read on for my thoughts on Needful Things and then hop over to Stormi's  at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! and check out her thoughts!

TITLE: Needful Things
AUTHOR: Stephen King
PUBLISHER: Gallery Books
PUBLISHING DATE: March 20, 2018 (original book in October 1991)
PAGES: 816
SOURCE: Own library


Master storyteller Stephen King presents the classic #1 New York Times bestseller about a mysterious store than can sell you whatever you desire—but not without exacting a terrible price in return.
The town of Castle Rock, Maine has seen its fair share of oddities over the years, but nothing is as peculiar as the little curio shop that’s just opened for business here. Its mysterious proprietor, Leland Gaunt, seems to have something for everyone out on display at Needful Things…interesting items that run the gamut from worthless to priceless. Nothing has a price tag in this place, but everything is certainly for sale. The heart’s desire for any resident of Castle Rock can easily be found among the curiosities…in exchange for a little money and—at the specific request of Leland Gaunt—a whole lot of menace against their fellow neighbors. Everyone in town seems willing to make a deal at Needful Things, but the devil is in the details. And no one takes heed of the little sign hanging on the wall: Caveat emptor. In other words, let the buyer beware…

 MY THOUGHTS:  I'm just putting it out there up front.  This book is too long.  Now that I have that out of the way.  Leland Gaunt cruises into Castle Rock one day and starts work on opening up a mysterious store.  He sells a hodgepodge of things which individually caters to each person who enters the store.  His prices are always negotiable but he always ends up roping the seller into playing a trick for him.  But are they actually purchasing something or selling their soul?

This book has a HUGE cast of characters and for the most part, I was able to keep them all straight.  I loved some, I hated some and I felt badly for some.  The little kids Gaunt manipulated made my heart break at times and the people who were already "bad" at the core, sometimes I felt like they had what was coming to them.  There was also a dog and parakeet death which I could have lived without.  Kill all the people but leave the pets alone!!!!

While I basically crammed this book into an entire week, by the last 100 pages or so, I could have sworn Gaunt had used his magic and was making the book longer.  I really kept reading because I wanted to know what happened to Alan and Polly and because I refused to let this book beat me.  Twice is enough for me and although I'm sure when I read it in 1991, it became a quick fave, that is not the case today.  I enjoyed seeing some hints at other King plots mentioned but let's be honest, some of the people in Needful Things were just characters from his other books with different names.  Just try to convince me that Ash Merrill is not Trashcan Man from The Stand.  A great character study for any King fan but not one I'll pick up again.  



  1. Ok I just had to pull out my copy of Needful Things and check the page count. 685. I have the original edition, so I have no idea why he thought it was necessary to add more pages!

  2. Sorry, I tortured you with this pick but I tortured myself too lol.

  3. I've never read King (I know, I know!) but Castle Rock caught my eye- I did watch that series. :) It does sound like King tries weave elements from some of his other stories...

  4. Phew!! Its such a bummer when books don't hold up the second time around...