Maybe’s it’s because I’ve been watching Cobra Kai, and maybe it’s just because it’s my childhood, but for two weeks after reading this, I’ve been singing this song over and over: https://youtu.be/swo51-CG9Ss
Despite all claims that this is a collection of stories, I would call it a novel. The stories are linked, but so many novels tell different parts of the story in different voices, with different tones, and differently connected ideas and themes. If A Visit from the Goon Squad or Cloud Atlas are novels, then this is a novel too. Regardless, this book is among one of the more tightly focused books by Stephen King in ways that I found quite compelling. I think the opening novella (which is pretty much a novel, as it’s 300 pages about) does a few weird little things that I don’t think are great (I think the more the Low Men are normal but exaggerated and never explicit in their actions the better). Stephen King talks about the sixties with some real clarity and purpose because he was of such a consequential age during them (and because he’s the same age as my parents, it gives some insight), so the title story also stands out in significant ways. Because the supernatural stuff in this book is pretty muted, and King’s ability to create and discuss fully readable and clearly defined human characters, I think this book is quite strong over all.
I did find out that a bunch of the movie (which I have seen parts of) was filmed near where I live, and I thought was pretty neat.