First of all, sorry Mr. King…I have to stop your book for another read by my favorite author, Eiichiro Oda. I have posted a post where I was telling you that it’s time for my One Piece Annual Re-read Event. I tried to continue reading Hearts in Atlantis till the last page but my mind kept on drifting away and I couldn’t concentrate with the story. Therefore, I decided to put it to stop and continued it later…after all this book is a collection of 5 novellas.
As I have said before, there are 5 novellas in this book…each novella connect to the other by character. So far, I have finished 2 novellas, the first one is hard to put down while the second one totally slowed me down.
1960 Low Men In Yellow Coats
Bobby Garfield lived with her mother. His father died when he was little and his mother always talked as if his father had abandoned them in poverty. His mother was a bitter woman who had difficulty to trust people. When she saw someone as dislikeable, that person will stay dislikable no matter what that person did. Bobby hated her and loved her at the same time.
Bobby wanted to have a bike and his mother started talking about how difficult it is to earn money. There was nothing about Bobby’s mom that I find interesting. Even after I know the pain she had, I still can’t feel sorry for her. The way she treated Bobby is the kind that I hate from a mother figure, so stingy toward her own son and yet still able to buy fine clothes for herself. Her reason to buy fine dresses is for works, but I still can’t justify what she did toward Bobby.
Bobby had 2 best friends, Sully John and Carol. His life became happier when he met Ted Brautigan, an old man who had just moved to the apartment above Bobby’s. Ted became Bobby’s grown up friend. There was something odd about Ted, he was likeable but he had something he hid from everybody.
Bobby found out what was wrong with Ted when Ted asked him to look for unusual signs around his neighborhood. Those signs were signs made by Low Men In Yellow Coat. Bobby’s love for Ted made him ignored the sign because he knew that if Ted found out, Ted will leave him forever. On the other hand, Bobby’s mom never trusted Ted.
Things became climax when Bobby’s mom saw Carol without her cloth and Ted was touching her.
Reading this novella reminds me of To Kill A Mockingbird in a sense that it highlights the life of a boy with 1 parent. I really like this novella because even though it is about ordinary human relation but King still managed to put a bit of supernatural thing in it. He connected the story to The Dark Tower series. I can see how Bobby turned from innocent child into troubled young man because of the pain he had after separating with Ted. But most of all, I like how King ends the story.
This novella makes me want to read The Lord of the Flies. Will see if I can find it 😉
This novella consists of 323 pages and it is said that the movie with Anthony Hopkins was based upon this novella.
1966 Hearts In Atlantis
The second novella has no supernatural at all…but it is not as interesting as Shawshank Redemption (King’s other novella that has no supernatural involved). I truly enjoy Shawshank but Hearts in Atlantis is freaking boring. I am not going to say that the story is horrible but it’s just not my type of read.
Hearts in Atlantis is only 200 pages but I read it far longer than Low Men in Yellow Coats.
The story centered on a college boy named Pete. Pete was one of few students that went to college because he got scholarship. However, during college he got caught up in a card game called Hearts. The game consumed all his study time. He wasn’t the only one trapped in that addictive game. Most freshmen were under the arm of Hearts. Most of them never made it to the second year (or is it second semester…not sure).
He met Carol (Bobby’s friend) and started going out with her. She joined a march up to protest US government for sending army to Vietnam. Her reason was what had happened to her and Bobby. She left Pete because she wanted to take care of her mother. She told him to quit playing card. But Pete couldn’t escape from that game easily.
The thing that finally forced him to stop was seeing what happened to a bitter cripple man who shared the dorm with him.
Why am I finding this book as something boring? There is just too much talk about his trouble to escape from the game. I skim most of those Hearts talk. Sorry Mr. King, this one is the most boring story I have ever read from you.
The other three novellas that will be read after August are: 1983 Blind Willie; 1999 Why We’re In Vietnam; and 1999 Heavenly Shades Of Night Are Falling. Another 147 pages to go 🙂
Have you read these two novellas? Do you also think the second one is boring?