Despite the title, there’s no joy to be found in reading Joyland.
That was bad, wasn’t it? Let’s start over.
That probably wasn’t much better.
Joyland was a huge letdown for me. After all of the talk about this book when it was being released because it was a new King novel and because it wasn’t released in e-format, I was kind of really looking forward to it. Now granted, the only King novel I’ve read so far was The Stand, but that was a pretty good book. I figured Joyland would also be good, but also quick and scary. I don’t even LIKE scary books, but I was willing to risk it here.
Well if you’re avoiding this book because you don’t like to be scared, have no fear: There is ZERO scary-times in this book. And not only was it not even remotely horrifying, but it was SO SLOW. And sloppy. It took me almost 5 days to judge through this book, which is less than 300 pages. College student Devin gets hired on at the Joyland amusement park for the summer, hoping to heal a broken heart. Immediately upon getting hired, he hears about the shocking unsolved murder that took place right in the park years ago, and about the ghost that supposedly haunts it. While spending the summer fixing rides and selling concessions, he tries to learn more about the killing. Sometime in all of this, he befriends a woman and her sick son.
So, Devin is a good guy and generally likable, except for the occasional bout of angst over his ex-girlfriend. He’s a good employee and makes friends working at Joyland. The side-story of his befriending the sick kid was sweet, but forgettable. That’s really it… the mystery of the murder kind of lingers in the background – he doesn’t even seem particularly invested or interested in uncovering any truths, and the big reveals at the end were extremely predictable and anti-climactic. And that’s coming from someone who is NEVER able to predict things in books or shows. I thought initially that this would be a good beach read – I was wrong. If you bring this to the beach to read, you might fall asleep and wake up with a sunburn.
So yeah. Big letdown. I KNOW that Stephen King can, and has, done better.
Sarah Says: 2 stars