The Tommyknockers Review

The TommyknockersThe Tommyknockers by Stephen King
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A few years ago, a popular Internet critic named Doug Walker (better known as the Nostalgia Critic) created a game known as ‘The Steven King drinking game’ for use in reviewing the film adaptation of the novel ‘It’.

I’m not going to comment on the insensitivity of creating a drinking game after a known alcoholic. I’m a fan of Dougs, but found said review to not be his best. The drinking game however instructed viewers to take a shot whenever certain prevalent King stereotypes came into the story, ie: characters that are alcoholics, characters that are writers, etc…

If I were playing that game right now, I’d have died of alcohol poisoning.

I’m of two minds on Tommyknockers. I like the plot of Gard and Bobbi digging up and old UFO, of the strains on their friendship, and the physical tole it takes on them. The issue is that this plot takes up a maximum of 1/3 of the novel.

The rest is just… Stuff.

Just stuff. That’s it. Characters come and go with little to no point. We have entire chapters and multiple-chapter sections of the text devoted to people and events that have absolutely no bearing on the plot. There’s an entire chapter devoted to a pilot that crashes after flying over the town. Another three chapters devoted to reporters investigating the mysterious events in the town ( which wouldn’t be so bad, except it doesn’t resolve).

There is no point to any of it. I read it all and resisted the urge to skip parts under the assumption that a master like King would be going somewhere with it, although I had suspicions that it would not. There is no point. It’s 400 pages of padding. Obvious padding that’s tedious to read, because you realize it’s padding while reading it.

I read an interview from King once where he said he didn’t plan his novels before he started writing. With Cell I believe that. With Tommyknockers, I think he planned it, realized it would be shorter than people expected it to be, then went about filling.

How do I grade this? How do I grade it when I loved the main plot but am so dismayed by the crap I had to wade through to reach each plot point?

I was going to give the 1/3 I liked 5/5, but that still only works out to 0.6/5, rounded up to 1. That lumps it in with trash like Darkly Dreaming Dexter, which it does not deserve. I’m giving it 2/5. Skip any scene that doesn’t have Gard or Bobbi in it and you’ll have a much better reading experience.


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