The Tommyknockers by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
**4.5-stars rounded up**
Okay, I know, I know. This isn’t a perfect book.
Luckily, I am not a critical reader. Therefore a book doesn’t need to be entirely perfect in order for me to love it.
I rate books based upon my reading experience and I absolutely loved my time rereading The Tommyknockers.
This SciFi-Horror novel, first published in 1987, is set in the small town of Haven, Maine.
One day while walking in the woods of her rather large property, local woman, Bobbi Anderson, quite literally stumbles upon a mysterious metal object protruding from the ground.
Unable to understand what she is seeing, Bobbi quickly becomes obsessed with freeing the object.
The longer she’s around it however, the more she begins to notice certain disturbing side effects suffered by both herself and her old dog, Peter.
Regardless of any strange happenings, Bobbi continues to feel the pull of the object in the woods.
Around the time Bobbi has developed this new obsession, her old friend, Jim Gardener, known as Gard, finds himself in the depths of a true alcoholic bender.
On a morning where he is moments from ending it all, Gard experiences an overwhelming feeling that Bobbi is in real danger; he needs to call her.
Unable to get through, he does what anyone would do. He hitchhikes to her house.
He finds Bobbi in a state of, shall we say, disrepair.
Bobbi gives Gard, her trusted friend, a run-down of all she has been up to; including showing him the object.
She enlists his help in her mission to free it. Although he has reservations, Gard loves Bobbi in his own way, and ultimately does decide to stick around and help her out.
From there, we meet the town of Haven. The other locals who have begun to feel the effects of the object’s greater exposure.
The fallout seems to be having an effect on the health and wellness of the entire town. Incidentally, it also has a significant effect on anyone passing through.
Written towards the end of the Cold War, at a time when discussions of nuclear weapons, power and nonproliferation evoked a lot of passion amongst people, that influence can be felt here.
The fact that I am using the word fallout, as an apt way to describe what was happening to the citizens of Haven, exemplifies that.
In addition to the social commentary, which I feel King is genuinely good at weaving into his stories, he also incorporates various other elements he seems to enjoy exploring.
There’s author protagonists, both Bobbi and Gard are writers, alcoholism, mental telepathy, revivalist preachers, dolls, rats, bats, creepy kids and a fantastic array of body horror. It really has it all.
Also, as usual, this story is full of witty humor and characters that are so well-developed you feel like you’ve known them your whole life.
As a Maine native, I can tell you this story is full of Mainerism, as well!
Overall, I had such a fun time sinking my teeth into this one again. I had forgotten so much.
Additionally, I picked up so many more connections to the great Kingverse than the first time around; having an additional 20-years to read his stories.
I think this one is underrated. Not just underrated, it gets a solidly bad rap.
However, I humbly disagree. I think if you love King, and love SciFi, you can love this book as well.
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