Lisey’s Story by Stephen King

Lisey\'s Story cover

Lisey’s Story is a love story, King-style.  It is a love story on many levels: Lisey’s love for her husband, Scott’s love for his brother, first, and later his wife, the sister thing of the Debusher girls, Scott’s love of writing, and people’s love of storytelling.

It is the story of fictional author, Scott Landon, and his surviving wife, Lisey (rhymes with “CeeCee”).  Even though Scott has passed, he will still have his say, and directs Lisey on his final “bool”, or a treasure hunt.  Through the process of discovering each clue, she is guided by Scott behind the purple curtain to the memories too dificult to be remembered.  It is through this process that the nature and origin of Scott’s writing genius is revealed, and the connection Scott had had with Lisey’s manic-depressive sister Amanda Debusher who has a penchant for self mutilation and slipping into periods of catatonia.

While I don’t believe this is one of King’s best, it is, however, my favorite.  There is so much in Lisey’s Story that resonates with my own life experiences and writing process. 

First of all, as a recovering cutter, the explanations of why Scott’s dad, Scott himself, and Amanda do it are true to the emotions and reasoning that go on in the mind of a cutter.  The cocept it is a way to “get the bad-gunky out” is one that crossed my mind often before doing it; I had to relieve the pressure valve.  That Manda covers hers because they are her treasures and not for others to see is another truth, as they serve as medals and trophies to my enduring life, trials and suffering.  Cutting is a flight-or-fight response gone sideways, as shown by Scott’s gift of a blood bool to Lisey when they were dating.  You are forced into a spot where you can’t run becuase where can you go to escape yourself? and you can’t fight back against the person who’s confronting you.  The tension must go somewhere, and it is allowed to bleed out.  That Amanda felt no pain and only ecstacy when doing it is spot on, as it releases the brain’s natural opiates.

Second, I have often pondered and been amazed at how different people in different places from different background come up with the same thoughts, stories and discoveries.  Jung called this “collective consciousness”.  King describes this mystery as “the language-pool, the myth-pool, where we all go down to drink” and cast our nets, where the bravest, the Austens, Tolstoys and Doskievskys sail out into the deepest waters to catch the biggest fish.

Third, it is this “pool” that is the centerpiece of “Boo-Ya Moon,” Scott’s version of the parallel dimensional place that we retreat to when life becomes more than we can handle.  King proposes that each person’s place is different and specific to them, but is the same thing.  It is to this place many of the “gorks” in the psych ward have slipped away.  It is in Amanda’s place, the dock by the S.S. Hollyhocks, that Lisey has to go to retrieve her “big sissa Manda bunny.”

The book is woven throughout in the Stephen King fashion with a monster sighted in reflections, a crazed lunatic hell-bent-for-leather to torture Lisey, and a dead cat in a mailbox.  It is a journey into an abusive past with a psuchotic father, the survival and victory over a monster, the acceptance of the death of the love of her life, and collecting the prize at the end of the bool, for all treasure hunts end with the discovery of something precious.

6 Responses

  1. I love the name of your blog!

    I’ve read a few things by Stephen King:
    IT (I was only 13 which was too young!)
    The Green Mile
    The Stand
    On Writing

    So I really do need to read some more!

  2. I have also read The Green Mile, which is one of his best, plus I’ve read:

    Hearts In Atlantis
    Duma Key
    Dead Zone
    The Shining

    I can’t remember if I read Pet Cemetary or just watched the movie.
    I’m still gnawing at Skeleton Crew (which got mooched and now I have to hurry and finish.)

    On Writing is in the mail for me, and I’m really excited to read it.

  3. I love Stephen King and I have this book waiting, but the reviews have been so mixed that I have hesitated to read it. I had to put it in one of my challenges in an attempt to get myself to do it, so I’ll be reading it in August. Your review has made me actually want to read it, so thank you!

    My personal favorite King novel will probably always be It, though. Brilliant characterization there.

  4. Like Lenore, I love the name of your blog… lol it’s appearance as well… it’s very familiar lol!

    I’ve added your name to my bloggers page 🙂

  5. kegsoccer-

    Yeah, I wandered through all the designs, looking for something that might fit with the title and theme, but didn’t like the layouts on the ones who’s images might have fit better. So I grabbed this one. Imagine my embarrassment when I realized we were using the same one!

  6. THIS is one I’ve read! (the other is Carrie – 20+ years ago) and On Writing – you will LOVE it and I don’t even know you (not really since this is only my 2nd time here at your blog)

    I really enjoyed this book and remember laughing out loud and gasping in spots…

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