Sunday, July 26, 2009

Book Review of Duma Key by Stephen King (read 2/08)

Book review time! (Yay!) Why a book review? Because reading Duma Key by Stephen King back in Feb, '08, played a significant role in my personal story. Because this book is good even though written by a best-selling secular author. Because I wanted to add a new post but had nothing profound to say, myself.

Who cares why? Read the review or's your decision. So, without further ado, my 5 star review of Duma Key by Stephen King:

Every single page is like a lover touching my cheek...sometimes it's a caress, and sometimes it's a slap...but every page, every word, has a profound impact upon me. I'm in the middle of the book, and I'm terrified to finish it, but I can't stop turning the pages...

...Just finished it. I heard one reviewer state that it was the best book King had ever written. While reviewers have short memories and liberal use of hyperbole, I must admit that this was one of his best he's written. While not epic like 
The StandIt, or The Dark Tower, it is powerful, insightful, and terrifying. Also, the fact that the book is not epic is one of its greatest strengths. One of King's self-indulgences in the past couple of decades has been his ability to use 1000 pages to write a 500 page story. Remember that Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption and The Body were both just novellas. In Duma Key, King uses each of the 607 pages with power and efficiency.

Another of King's self-indulgences has been his treatment of Bryan Smith, the man who hit him during his walk and nearly killed him. That same man died a year later from a prescription drug overdose. I remember being especially uncomfortable of King's incorporation and depiction of the accident as a key element in one of his stories. (I HATE spoilers, so either you know what I'm talking about or you don't.) It got to the point where I really started to dislike the man, Stephen King. I mean, c'mon, let the dead rest.

But in this book, King delves into the aftermath of being broken and how being broken made him act and say things that simply were not of his character. Noticeably in this story, King only refers to the crane that causes the accident that crushes Edgar Freemantle and sets everything in motion, and he never once speaks of the driver. Later in the story as Edgar tests his newfound talents, the test results in the death of a child molester. Now, while the bastard certainly had it coming to him, Edgar is overwhelmed with a sense of power, horror, fear, and guilt. In this narrative, I believe that King is trying to work through the aftermath of his own brokenness and how it changed him, most noticeably in his treatment of Bryan Smith. And an interesting thing happened...I found that I had forgiven King's spite and nastiness during this period of pain and healing.

Finally, King puts to words so well what it is like to be broken...what it's like to not be yourself and be the monster and victim at the same time...and what it's like to look back on the wake of relationships that will never be the same again. Having gone through this myself (and I'm not out of the woods yet) I found myself weeping in sections where King's script perfectly put to words the hopelessness, frustration, and loneliness of a broken person. In this book, I found a bit of my own healing realizing that I'm not the only one to have dealt with this and coming to terms with the fact that it's not my fault.

Was this Stephen King's best book? I honestly don't have an answer. All I know is that it has had a bigger impact on me than any other work of fiction I've ever experienced.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I was listening to a talk a few weeks back about happiness on (a site you need to check out!) The talk included different terms for happiness and their nuances. Specifically mentioned was the fact that we have 6 different terms meaning the happiness derived from someone else's misfortune, but we have no word to imply the happiness derived from another person's happiness. I resolved to correct this grievous omission. For the term, I combined "Happiness" with "Agape." Agape (Ah GAH Pay) is a Greek term for love that implies a perfect, Godlike love. Agape + Happiness = Agappiness. This is seriously an idea that deserves to be spread around the world. Hmm...kinda like the Gospel....


Definitely a word that needs to be used and used often!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Am Not My Flesh

This was a comment I left on Sami's blog, but I stole it back for my blog because I feel like it is such a good follow-up to my previous post:

I'm really struggling with seeing my Flesh as my identity and not something that is not a part of me. My identity is the one Christ has crafted inside of me. I've been talking with my therapist a LOT about this, and it's only when I can get my mind around the fact that I am the Christ creation inside of me, and I CONTEND with the Flesh, the World, and the Principalities that I am able to experience ANY of the Fruit of the Spirit.

I've been feeling sorry for myself a lot lately. Been struggling with temptations of lust, suicide, wrath, envy, gluttony, idolatry...the list goes on and on.

When I'm not reading a section for a particular study, and I'm just turning to the Word to fill me, my Scripture reading for the last while has been almost exclusively Psalms...especially 31 - 46 and 110 - 118. A couple verses that stand out:

I am scorned by all my enemies and despised by my neighbors--even my friends are afraid to come near me.
When they see me on the street, they turn the other way. - Ps 31:11

But that same Psalm ends with this verse:

So be strong and take courage, all you who put your hope in the LORD! - Ps 31:24

Some other verses:

The LORD hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the Brokenhearted, He rescues those who are crushed in spirit. - Ps 34:17, 18

My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks--it was the sound of a great celebration!
Why am I discouraged? Why so sad?
I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again--my Savior and my God!
Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember Your kindness - Ps 42:4, 5a

Who can be compare with the LORD our God, who is enthroned on high?
Far below Him are the heavens and the earth. He stoops to look,
and He lifts the poor from the dirt and the needy from the garbage dump.
He sets them among princes even the princes of His own people!
He gives the barren woman a home, so that she becomes a happy mother.
Praise the LORD - Ps 113:5-9

As I read the Psalms, I can so readily see that none of what I'm experiencing is new to God. The Psalmist speaks so eloquently what is going on in my heart whether it be doubt, joy, pain, or hope.