Joyland
by Stephen King
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Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

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Love leaves scars
Those are things that happened once upon a time and long ago, in a magical year when oil sold for eleven dollars a barrel. The year Devin Jones got her heart broke. The year he lost his virginity. The year he saved a nice little girl from choking and a fairly nasty old man from dying of a heart attack (the first one, at least). The year a madman almost killed him on a Ferris wheel. The year he wanted to see a ghost and didn’t . . . although he guess at least one of them saw him. That was also the year he learned to talk a secret language, and how to dance the Hokey Pokey in a dog costume. The year he discovered that there are worse things than losing the girl.
The year he was twenty-one, and still a greenie.
The world has given him a good life since then, he won’t deny it, but sometimes he hates the world, anyway.
Let’s end on a sunny day in April of 1974. Let’s end on that short stretch of North Carolina beach that lies between the town of Heaven’s Bay and Joyland, an amusement park that would close its doors two years later; the big parks finally drove it to bankruptcy in spite of all Fred Dean’s and Brenda Rafferty’s efforts to save it. Let’s end with a pretty woman in faded jeans and a young man in a University of New Hampshire sweatshirt. The young man is holding something in one hand. Lying at the end of the boardwalk with his snout on one paw is a Jack Russell terrier who seems to have lost all his former bounce. On the picnic table, where the woman once served fruit smoothies, there’s a ceramic urn. It looks sort of like a vase missing its bouquet. Annie and Devin are not quite ending where they began, but close enough.
Close enough.
The last good time always comes, and when you see the darkness creeping toward you, you hold on to what was bright and good. You hold on for dear life.
I’m flying, Mike had said that day, lifting his arms over his head. No braces to hold him down then, and none now. Mike was a lot wiser than his Christ-minded grandfather. Wiser than all of them, maybe. Was there ever a crippled kid who didn’t want to fly, just once?
Devin watched the unmetered kite go up, and up, and up. Mike would have wanted to see how high it would go before it disappeared.
He shrugged. “I’ve got muscular dystrophy, that’s all. That’s why I’m in the wheelchair. I can walk, you know, but the braces and crutches are a pain in the butt.”
“Mom said she’d never come back here, but here we are. Because I wanted to come to the beach and because I wanted to fly a kite and because I’m never going to make twelve, let alone my early twenties. It was the pneumonia, see? I get steroids, and they help, but the pneumonia combined with the Duchenne’s MD fucked up my lungs and heart permanently.”
When you’re twenty-one, life is a roadmap. It’s only when you get to be twenty-five or so that you begin to suspect you’ve been looking at the map upside down, and not until you’re forty are you entirely sure. By the time you’re sixty, take it from Devin, you’re fucking lost.
Love leaves scars. But his autumn at Joyland—both the best and worst autumn of his life.
Some days are treasure. Not many, but he thinks in almost every life there are a few. That was one of his, and when he is blue—when life comes down on him and everything looks tawdry and cheap, the way Joyland Avenue did on a rainy day— he goes back to it, if only to remind himself that life isn’t always a butcher’s game. Sometimes the prizes are real. Sometimes they’re precious.

Il CoccoIl Cocco wrote a review
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SnoopinaSnoopina wrote a review
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Per Stephen King nutro un certo qual timore reverenziale. Quando uno ha scritto dei capolavori non è che gli si possa dire con tanta leggerezza «Sì, va beh, però adesso non è che devi pubblicare proprio tutto, eh». Ribadisco, è arduo da dire. Ma in questo mondo bisognerà pur essere onesti: credo che se l’avesse scritto qualcun altro, questo libro non avrebbe mai visto la luce della pubblicazione.
L’inizio mi ha coinvolto tantissimo. Un’ambientazione spettacolare, resa al solito divinamente dal Maestro che del resto scrivere sa scrivere e questo non glielo toglie nessuno. Degna del solito, pazzesco, dominio di King sulla lingua la Parlata. King non usa le parole: le piega al suo volere. Dunque, la Parlata merita. E sicuramente parecchi passaggi mi hanno fatto drizzare i peli delle braccia (e anche della nuca, di tanto in tanto. Ah, King!).
Poi, però. Il declino si inizia a ravvedere quando i personaggi, già in partenza tratteggiati forse in modo un po’ stereotipato, contrariamente all’intera produzione del Re, non solo non si evolvono, ma si cristallizzano. Devin diventa un improbabile mezzo eroe. Erin è bella, simpatica e intelligente. L’altro sembra cattivo ma in realtà, colpo di scena, dopo essere morto è buono! E poverino, dopo tutto era solo acido perché soffriva per amore. Ma no, dai. Il ragazzino disabile non solo parla come un trentenne e fa allusioni degne di un sessantenne scafato, ma è già visto. E il finale… No, non lo svelo. Ma è più traballante della ruota panoramica.
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