Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lisey's Story by Stephen King: a Book Review

Or, What's Keeping Me Up Past Midnight?

It’s been ages since I’ve come across a book that’s so good it’s kept me up past midnight. Past many midnights! Just to keep reading. I’m half way through Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story and I’ve been losing sleep since I picked it up.

Quick summary
The book is about the marriage between award-winning novelist Scott Landon and his wife Lisey. The story takes place after Scott’s death so it’s Lisey’s mind we get to explore. We learn about her troubled husband and their powerful relationship through Lisey’s memories and flashbacks.    

My impression so far
I can never say enough about Stephen King’s storytelling. His style is at once casual and compelling. He trusts his readers to stay with the book as he unveils the story in baby bites, at his own pace (which I believe is part of his mastery).

As an example, I didn’t start out liking Lisey—and Lisey’s Story is obviously about her. I wasn’t clear why someone as talented and complicated as Scott Landon would be drawn to her. If the story is about their profound marriage then I needed to know what the connection was. King kept me hanging on, slowly revealing nuggets, until I grew to understand.

The cool thing is, I don’t know if I understand what Stephen King wants me to or if I’ve layered my own life experiences over his story to reach my point of view. And it doesn’t matter, does it? King trusts me (his reader) to ‘get it,’ whatever that may be. And that, my friends, is what I call good writing.     

As I read Lisey’s Story, I can’t help but wonder how much of this book is autobiographical. Knowing what I do of King’s life (run—don’t walk—to buy Stephen King on Writing) makes reading Lisey’s Story more even more interesting.

At one point Scott says something to Lisey about feeling like nothing more than a jukebox, that people drop money in him and out pops a story. Wonder if Stephen King ever feels that way.  


This post was written for The Writers' Post group on Facebook, and this week’s topic is midnight.  If you want to connect with other bloggers and join the fun, go to The Writers' Post Facebook page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome.



  1. This was a great take on this week's topic. I haven't read any of Stephen King's books, but I have no doubt he is a master at writing. I think, when we read, we can't help but apply our own lives to the book. That's what I love most about reading!

  2. I stopped reading King because I didn't like his endings . . . or lack of. I recently read a book called, "My Name is Memory" by Ann Brashares. I couldn't put it down and one night it kept me up until 3. It's been awhile since a books done that to me; however, the ending was left open for the sequel. I hate when authors do that.


  3. I liked Stephen King on Writing as well. Half the book tells his personal history rather in depth; rather painful it was at times. The second half is devoted to his practical advice, and the third half (?)returns to the pain and trauma of his highway incident.
    Hate to say it, but his books inspire me: I find myself asking, "People buy THIS by the millions?"

  4. Excellent take on Midnight--I really enjoyed this!

  5. oh i want to read the book!!!!!!! LOL you ALWAYS do this to me..hehe And yes, think you nailed its really about his life...kinda like the mona lisa : )

  6. Thanks to this post, I'll be giving Amazon a few more bucks. I'll bet they love me. :O)

  7. Interesting take on 'midnight' - haven't read any of Stephen King's books but could be tempted to give this one a go!

  8. I have read most of whet he has published. I think the casualness of his style is deceptive. His work, for the most part for me, captures my imagination and I just am willing to run with him.

  9. I'm listening to Book 3 of His dark tower series. It started out a bit weird, but now I find that I have to keep on "reading" the series. He's a great storyteller for sure.

  10. I read a few of Stephen King's books several years ago, but I have to admit that his style of writing is not my cup of tea. Give me a book with a southern plantation and I don't care who wrote it. I was born out of time. I should have been born pre-civil war. LOL

  11. Enjoyed your review, Langley. I'm not a big Stephen King fan just cause I don't like horror and gore much. I tried to read a short story of his recently and it was too gruesome for my liking. His description of a murdered girl with her throat slit and body stuffed in a car trunk was a bit too much for me. UGH!

    Anyhow, he's done well for himself so other people love his stuff. Good for him.

    I'm still kicking myself for giving away the Stephen King writing book that I got from a discount bin for 5 bucks years ago. Ever since then, writers keep saying what a great book it is. :(

  12. When I started reading Lisey's Story, I was worried. I didn't 'get it', and I normally do when I pick up a King book. I did get it, eventually, as the chapters rolled by (and midnights with them!) and it is actually one of my favourites (although nothing will ever eclipse It for that position. I adore King. His writing speaks to me in so many ways, and inspires me in many more.
    I might just go back and reread this now, so thanks for the nudge *hugs*

  13. I've only read On Writing. I should read some of his novels. I like the sound of this one :O)


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