Under the Dome
by Stephen King
I read the first half of this in 2015 November/December and finished it in January/February of 2016. It was a WHOLE LOT of discs and a WHOLE LOT of anxiousness about a WHOLE LOT of characters. I'd seen the first two seasons of the TV show, but apart from some similar characters and a similar situation, the two really don't have a lot in common. One day, a dome comes down over a small town in Maine and there's no getting in or out. The story lines in the show and the book diverge almost immediately. In the book, the good people of Chester's Mill are trapped in their town under a dome that causes localized weather problems (local warming, compared to global warming) along with a politician who's pretty much the small town version of Donald Trump. It's a nightmare. But pretty soon there's a trustworthy, heroic band of resistance fighters... which is good because the town needs their help and bad because anyone who goes against Big Jim ends up dead pretty quickly. An ex-military guy, a reporter, a kid genius, a priest who lost her faith in God, the closest thing the town has to a doctor, a couple dogs, the town drunk, a restaurant owner, a junkie trying to get clean, and a guest editor of Ploughshares... that's pretty much who we have to pin our hopes on. And, as unlikely as this is, you just know that somehow, they'll succeed. Unfortunately, you also know that this is a Stephen King book, so literally anyone could die at any moment. So I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.
This book's got everything: humor and sweetness, shame and horrible aspects of human nature, great characters and impossible odds. I was disappointed to find out what the dome was and even more disappointed at the solution. And, yet, I really liked the themes that were lying there beneath the surface. It was a little more complex than just a bunch of aliens, but not quite as complex as I would have liked for a good solution. And I was so angry and pissed off at Big Jim Rennie and his son, Junior... so it was an interesting bit about human nature to see my reactions to them, even though they're not even real.
Not the best Stephen King book I've ever read, but I'm very glad I made it through and even gladder to have read it. It was amazing watching the extents he would go to here. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack several times while reading it! Definitely kept me guessing and worrying about the good guys the whole way through. What a fascinating story; I really could believe this happening if a town suddenly found itself in this situation. Poor people of Chester's Mill...