by Stephen King
Masterful in weaving an epic tale of good versus evil, Stephen King delivers a fine story like no other writer is able to. Revival is a story of a long ago--long ago though not forgotten time--of small towns and even smaller churches, of prayers and praying, of preachers and church going, of church suppers and sing-alongs, and hymns on Sunday, funerals and baptisms, and a mountain of human suffering. The past is not all rosy and bright Garrison Keiller and Lake Wobegon.
In small town Harlow, Jamie Morton grows up in a loving family with older siblings, a doting mother and hard working father. This was a time when boys played with plastic soldiers and set up battlefields all over the dirt yards and fields. A time when the family ate supper at the same table, where children were expected to eat what was put on their plate and be thankful for it. When Jamie is six, a new preacher comes to town. Reverend Jacobs is young for the job, but the town is happy to have him and soon they are captivated by his youth and charisma. His pretty wife and young son complete the Norman Rockwell family portrait.
When a terrible accident happens, the community shaken. The young pastor's world is rocked and he forced to leave town after giving a sermon criticizing God. Blasphemy being preached in the church by their very own pastor? In small town New England, this is the worst sin.
Years and years later, miles and miles of honkytonks, the bottom of too many bottles, and at the end of too many needles, Jamie wakes up in a heroine hell. Outside of Tulsa and nearly broke, he knows he needs to score in order to feel better. He wastes time until dark and goes in search of a fix at the local carnival. It is here he runs into the pastor of his youth. This second encounter with the man who gave up on God will change both of their lives forever.
After getting clean Jamie takes a job in Colorado with an old "friend" of Charles Roberts (aka Reverend Jacobs). Befriended and taken in by Hugh Yates, Jamie begins to investigate the life his savior/nemesis Charles Roberts. While it is true that Roberts has "cured" many a sick person, others he has helped have exhibited strange behavior and suicidal tendencies. Just what is it that the "pastor" is delivering? What is Roberts gaining from his strange studies?
King delivers an epic tale of religion and sin, of redemption and forgiveness, of pain and suffering, of love and hurt, and of the survival and revival of the human spirit. In The Stand (1978), the end of the world is near and armies are being formed for the good and the evil. In Revival, the same struggle is again visited by King on a much deeper level. In fiction, you may never see a character as charismatic and evil as Reverend Jacobs/Charles Roberts again. Real life, however, is full of examples of enigmatic, maniacal egotists. Just pick up any history book--you'll see them there.
King relates his own love of music and playing live through Jamie. I loved King's asides about age, getting older, and young people looking younger., and I love that King says, "Key of E. All that xxxx starts in E."
Highly, highly recommended grade 9 and up. Recommended for any King fan and any book club.
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.
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