The Dead Zone
MOVIE by Stephen King
The Dead Zone
opens by Jonny Smith whom is a teacher had a girlfriend, Sarah. Johnny takesSarah on a surprise date at a carnival and as they are riding the roller coaster, Johnny all of thesudden has an odd headache. Johnny then takes Sarah home and they claim their love for oneanother as he drives off in a horrible rainstorm. As he travels, while a truck jack-knives and asthe truck and trailer separate leaving no injuries to the truck driver, Johnny hits the end of thetank. Johnny lands himself in the E.R and then into a coma for several years and when wewakes up, Sarah has married and his parents break the news to him about Sarah about hisaccident too.
When Johnny wakes up, the world has changed. Sarah has married someone else. His mother hasbecome a religious lunatic. And he has to undergo a series of painful operations in order to regain use of his body. Meanwhile, he has started getting visions. He tells a nurse that her house is burning down. Andso forth. The media get a hold of the story, essentially ruining Johnny's life. And a Sheriff Bannermanfrom neighbouring Castle Rock is getting desperate to solve the case of the Castle Rock Strangler. Thesection that resolves the murderer's story is about the most gruesome in the book. After that, Johnnybecomes obsessed with a local politician by the name of Greg Stillson. Johnny has a certain vision of Stillson's future, and he then goes around asking his friends and family if they would kill Hitler (given atime machine or similar device to go back to the 1930s with full knowledge of the future). The book'sending is a tidy wrap-up of the Stillson story. Except that nothing is tidy at all.Johnny is quite an interesting character. Many of the best aspects of the book deal with his coma, andthe problems and challenges of it. Some of the themes that get woven into this Cassandra storypurposely evoke Greek myth. Johnny's parents, fate, lost love, death and new life. And in the midst of allthis, King keeps Johnny as a normal human being, with integrity and flaws, with heart and emotionalcallouses. I liked Johnny's relationship with Weizak, the doctor he becomes close to after recoveringfrom the coma. Johnny's father is also quite a successful creation on King's part, which might be morenoticeable because Johnny's mother is that favourite stereotype of King's, the religious lunatic of amother. Most of the other characters ring true, even the dull evil of Stillson and his henchman, but Kingshould know better than to use the tiresome religious lunatic yet again.King finds a clever way to end the book. Part 3 is called "Notes from the Dead Zone," and it is filled withvarious documents and bits of information that accumulate in the wake of the story's end. I liked theextra insight into Sarah's life, and to the way justice was done in the case of Stillson despite whateverheroic fantasies Johnny might have entertained.
The Dead Zone
is a good read, no doubt about that. King sometimes skims over the implications, moralor otherwise, of the themes he uses -- like the question of killing Hitler. But the extra dimension adds agreat deal to the book; there is something to think about when you have closed the cover and moved onwith your life.Also see thereview of the moviebased on this book.