With the Cecil County Fair coming up soon, I can't help but recommend this book! This is a little perfect summer read; a nostalgic paperback mystery about broken hearts, summer jobs and carnivals, and just a tiny dab of the supernatural. A novel that is not too fluffy or too heavy and never drags, "Joyland" is proof that after decades of writing over 80 books, Mr. King is still a master storyteller who has gotten his grove back (especially since last year's surprisingly good "11/22/63" about J.F.K.).
It's the 1973 coming-of-age tale of Devin Jones, 21-year old virgin, who works at Joyland in between college semesters, a story I'm guessing will be easily loved and relatable by Nor'Easterners and Southerners living close to the coast. In a time before gigantic corporate theme parks like Disney and Six Flags, this story is centralized at a coastal theme park in small town North Carolina and is populated by diverse and charismatic characters, yet not all are innocent. There was a murder in the Horror House years ago, unsolved, and it is strikingly similar to other murder of girls in the past decades.
"Joyland" is refreshingly different from King's most famous works (i.e.: his seminal gore/horror shockers of the ‘70s and ‘80s). This book balances American life, love, death, beliefs, God and hope. I laughed, choked up, and fell in love with carny lingo!
If you took King's name off of this book I'd bet more people would give it a try and see it for the honest, nostalgic, heartfelt marvel that it truly is.
Recommended by Matthew Lowder