Welcome to Chester’s Mill. Another small idyllic New England town, created by Stephen King. It is filled with all the elements of most of the towns in the Kingosphere. It has King’s usual squeaky clean exterior, leafy green lawns, white picket fences, and quaint little restaurants and shops. Of course, as most fans of Stephen King can tell you, Chester’s Mill isn’t all sweetness-and-light. Oh no fellow readers, in a King-town there is always something brewing, something which will expose this town and it’s citizens for what they are. And this time in Stephen King’s mammoth novel Under the Dome, the king of all-things-weird-and-spooky is going to place an entire town inside of a giant impenetrable dome (thus the novel’s title) and shake thing up like a giant snow dome.
Of course fans of King’s novels are not going to be too surprised by a giant invisible dome appearing for no reason around a town. Nor will they be surprised or shocked by the carnage, destruction or mild gore the dome creates. Even the characters trapped inside the dome: Dale ‘Barbie’ Barbara, a drifter who just happens to be a soldier fresh back from Iraq, Julia Shumway, the town’s newspaper editor and Jim Rennie, a used car salesman and Chester Mill’s equivalent of Boss Hogg will seem familiar to your average Stephen King fan. And there lies the problem of Under the Dome for me. It just was too much King for one reader…. Or maybe, it was too little King spread over too many pages for me.
Weighing in at over a thousand pages and taking place over just a week or so of Chester’s Mill’s lifetime, Under the Dome to me felt a bit stretched as a novel, with too many characters and too little action for a novel of this size.
Don’t get me wrong though, Under the Dome isn’t a terrible novel. In fact at times it is very good, and the characters are superbly created by King with the right balance of good, bad, creepy and downright weird people who will make any fan of Stephen King’s feel right at home. And I also really enjoyed how King took Chester’s Mill, sealed it off from the world and made it into a satirical microcosm of Bush-era America.
Still, I feel that unlike King’s magnum opus The Stand, this novel didn’t have enough going on to support its hefty weight. The action was too little and too stretched and for me there were just too many characters… And don’t even get me started with the ending, which was just downright silly.
Under the Dome; the novel versus the television series
I will be the first to admit that I may have never read Under the Dome if it wasn’t for the television series based on the novel. In fact it was the first few episodes of the series that inspired me to under-take the reading of King’s giant tome. After just a few chapters however, I soon discovered that the television series and the novel have very little in common. In fact, the two are so different that at times I wondered if I was even reading the right book.
Sure the concept is the same, a town trapped under a giant dome, and some of the characters are similar, but as anyone who has met the two will tell you, that is where the similarity ends. In fact the two are so different that I could probably create an entire website based on the differences… Luckily though, the good people at ThatWasNotInTheBook.com have saved me the time and effort and dedicated a large section of their website to this very topic.
- Why everyone on Earth needs to read “Under the Dome” by Stephen King! (tesseractpower.wordpress.com)
- Calvert’s Review: Under the Dome by Stephen King (playingjokers.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: Under the Dome (stealingpages.wordpress.com)