Book Review: From a Buick 8 by Stephen King

Book Review: From a Buick 8 by Stephen King

From a Buick 8 by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From a Buick 8 was way more interesting than I expected. Honestly, this is one of the few novels in King’s backlist that I would have had no qualms skipping if it hadn’t been on the suggested expanded Dark Tower reading list I found here. I had no desire to read about a supernatural car. Freaky inanimate objects don’t really do it for me. Most of the time, anyway. I should’ve remembered the topiaries in The Shining. Because this unnatural Buick ended up being pretty darn creepy. I was expecting Christine or James Dean’s Little Bastard. That’s so not what was delivered.

I was wondering what on earth a book about a car could possibly have to do with King’s Dark Tower series. Even before I reached the halfway mark, my wondering had ceased. While I won’t know for certain how it ties in until I’ve read the rest of the main Dark Tower series, I have no trouble seeing how this preternatural car could relate to the bigger story. And some of the things that pop out of it make the lobstrosities of The Drawing of the Three seem cuddly and banal. Seriously, this “car” is hella creepy, y’all.

“It’s funny how close the past is, sometimes. Sometimes it seems as if you could almost reach out and touch it. Only who really wants to?”

While I wasn’t that interested in a story about a car, that wasn’t the only part of the jacket copy that gave me pause. I had no real desire to read a story so deeply entrenched in the world of law enforcement. However, I ended up falling in love with Troop D. The ways in which they accepted the son of a fallen officer so easily and completely into the fold warmed my heart. And I loved the way in which they told the boy the story of his father’s tie with the Buick. There was something ancient and almost classical about the way in which the tale was told. It felt like a deconstructed Greek chorus, and something about the tight-knit relationships and the reluctant but determined way in which they imparted this tale and all its oddities won me over completely.

“…the whole idea of curious cats attaining satisfaction seemed slightly absurd. The world rarely finishes its conversations.”

I felt like the main theme of this story isn’t grief, but instead the dangerous seduction of curiosity, and how closely related it is to obsession. This is a topic King has covered time and again, but this particular story felt more like it danced around the theme instead of meeting head on. And honestly, that worked well here. Something random that I loved about this book was the complete lack of sex. Sex is where King always loses me, and it was refreshing not to have to worry about that in this novel.

Stephen King can make seriously anything eerie and disturbing, and From a Buick 8 is a prime example. I love it when I go into a book with low expectations and find myself pleasantly surprised. Also, it got me one step closer to reaching the Tower. I’m getting closer and closer, and I am insanely excited to be nearing the end.

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