I kept putting off reading Dreamcatcher for quite some time, years in fact. I kept pushing it aside because I had heard time and time again that it wasn’t one of Stephen King’s better works. I should have known better.
I want to write this review without spoilers even though it’s been out there for a couple of decades now. This book is particularly difficult to review without spoilers. I’m going to focus mainly on my emotional responses to what I read. We’ll see how this goes.
Dreamcatcher starts out with a group of four very close friends: Jonesy, Pete, Beaver, and Henry. They have been inseparable since they were kids. In the opening of the book the friends are adults and on an annual hunting trip they’ve observed since they were kids. The actual story progresses very slowly at this point because we’re learning about the dynamics of the friendship and getting glimpses of the past and how they met a very special person – Duddits.
Just typing the name Duddits makes my heart happy. Stephen King is able to capture the pure love and joy of his character perfectly. If you’ve read The Stand you’ll understand my love for Duddits when I compare his character to Tom Cullen. You just want to hug him and not let go. As kids, they boys do a very brave thing. They’re in Derry, Maine (setting of It), where kids are strangely disappearing and have been for years. So when they stumble upon a special needs child in need of help, they help!
King is very good at portraying pre-adolescent friendships. It’s one of the most appealing things about It and The Body. The way the kids interact and banter makes me love the characters. And their pure love and care for Duddits makes me love them even more.
There are many flashbacks throughout the book, which don’t bother me too much. But what does drag me out of the story is just when I’m into the storyline of our four primary characters and Duddits we get torn away from that plot line to a completely different setting with completely different characters and we’re introduced to the cold hearted Abraham Curtis and the men under his command. This seriously hurts my brain. I’m finally flowing with the story, the characters, and wait! Here’s a whole new set of characters in a completely different situation to adjust to! Enjoy!
They all come together in the end to try to save the world, of course. But are they all on the same page? Of course not! Are they all really intent on saving the world? And from what? You’ll need to read the book to learn the answers to those questions. I’m not sharing them here! I did get a little confused about the whole tie-in with the dreamcatcher itself within the story. Things get a bit out there with what’s reality, what’s imagined reality, what’s completely imagined. Or is it imagined? I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure it all out. Maybe you’ll have better luck!
I will need to watch the movie. It looks to be about middle of the road with ratings on IMDb. But Timothy Olyphant plays Pete. That’s all the excuse I need to watch anything. As for the book, I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It wasn’t perfection, but it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I had feared it might be.
Oh, I need to add some trigger warnings! Everyone knows that Stephen King isn’t above causing harm to young children and/or animals in his books. There is a scene with harm to a dog. There is mention of suicidal thoughts. And there is some awful bullying portrayed. But it does take place in Derry – home of some of the worst bullies in the real or imagined world, in my opinion!