Thoughts on Salem’s Lot

‘Salem’s Lot
by Stephen King
First published in 1975
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‘Salem’s Lot is a small New England town with white clapboard houses, tree-lined streets, and solid church steeples. That summer in ‘Salem’s Lot was a summer of home-coming and return; spring burned out and the land lying dry, crackling underfoot. Late that summer, Ben Mears returned to ‘Salem’s Lot hoping to cast out his own devils… and found instead a new unspeakable horror.

A stranger had also come to the Lot, a stranger with a secret as old as evil, a secret that would wreak irreparable harm on those he touched and in turn on those they loved.

I like vampires a lot. I also like to read different authors’ takes on them. What I don’t like is reading about regular people doing petty evil things. Unfortunately for me, ‘Salem’s Lot contains both of these elements.

I was cautiously intrigued in the beginning. Ben Mears, the author who moves into ‘Salem’s Lot after many years away, was an interesting enough character, and I did like him. Ben learns that some people have bought the local murder house. Late one night, he sees a light in the window. The people have moved in. My, doesn’t that sound delightfully creepy and intriguing! Now let me tell you about the milkman and the farm boys for a while!

Yes. I was intrigued by the vampire, and even more so by his henchman, Straker. I liked the main protagonist group who tried to stop them. It was everyone else I didn’t care about, and often King chose to write about everyone else. I didn’t like the villagers, and there were long chapters that followed many different villagers, usually doing nasty things. I don’t want to know about the dump owner who shoots rats while pretending that they are townspeople. I don’t even particularly want to follow the grouchy milkman who isn’t doing anything wrong, but is just delivering milk and being grouchy about it.

About 300 pages in, halfway through the book, things start to happen and the pace picks up again. This was too late for me to become very invested in the book. The main characters’ story is still interrupted by accounts of the villagers. Although on some level I do understand what King hoped to accomplish by adding those chapters into the book (emphasizing the shift from natural to the supernatural that was taking place in the town), it still doesn’t make me care or be interested.

In short: Wasn’t feeling it. This book was not for me. I might have liked it better if a lot of the chapters about the villagers were taken out.

Favorite character: Mark Petrie. That little boy was bad ass.