I already wrote in this post how I met Mr. Stephen King, so today I want to write about one of my favorite among his books.
Maybe it will sound weird, since it’s not one of his most appreciated works (or is it? I’ve encountered a few people who were fans of King but didn’t like it – more often than not my favorite are the ones which are less appreciated. Well, it’ll probably be because I’ve weird taste).
Anyway, I’m writing about The Dead Zone. Which I read FOUR times. And it’s been a while so who knows, maybe the fifth one is already in schedule. And with all the books there are in the world (and in my library and in my e-reader) it’s very rare for me to read a book a second time, let alone a fourth.
It’s an old book, published in 1979, basically a year before I was born.
I think what makes it so dear to me is the main theme. That kind of question that keeps bugging me, since I’m always wondering, what if things went differently?
The question is: “If you had the opportunity to go back in time, knowing how history turned out, would you kill Hitler before he came to power?”
Yet the book is not about history, nor Hitler, nor time travel.
It’s about a regular guy, Johnny Smith, who is a wonderful character in his simplicity, very human, very humble, good and likeable, with his college girlfriend and his job as an English teacher, with a life that looks almost normal and perfect, until a car accident sends him in a coma for four years.
And when he wakes up, the world has changed. His girlfriend is married to another man, his mother has become a religious fanatic, and he, also, is different, not only because of the pains of his long rehabilitation, but also because now there is something in his mind, a dead zone, which, if from one side has damaged some of his abilities to recall names and objects, from the other has given him a terrible power: to see the future just by touching things or people.
And he has shaken hands with a politician who gave him a terrible vision on the future of America.
He will have to decide alone, while his body slowly brakes down, if to stay and watch or do something.
But there is much more than that in the book, there are passages that give me goose bumps or make me shed a tear every time I read them. There are sentences I have underlined to remember them in the future.
It’s been a long time, but still now, sometimes I miss Johnny’s lopsided smile and it hurts a little knowing that he’s not coming back. Though, in the end, the baby is safe and that’s all that matters.