Author: Stephen King
Published: Originally: October, 1991
Hardcover: 790 pgs
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Leland Gaunt opens a new shop in Castle Rock called Needful Things. Anyone who enters his store finds the object of his or her lifelong dreams and desires: a prized baseball card, a healing amulet. In addition to a token payment, Gaunt requests that each person perform a little "deed," usually a seemingly innocent prank played on someone else from town. These practical jokes cascade out of control and soon the entire town is doing battle with itself. Only Sheriff Alan Pangborn suspects that Gaunt is behind the population's increasingly violent behavior.
Are you looking for a book that's going to scare the crap out of you? Are you looking for one that's literally going to make you bite your nails off and pull your hair out? Look no further. This book is creepy as f**k.
I recently reviewed another book by Stephen King, Dolores Claiborne (see review here) and it seemed to be pretty popular. So I felt like I should read another. Besides, my mom has been bugging me for years to read this book (it's her favorite). Originally printed 26 years ago, I feel like this book could hit the bestseller list just as easily today as it did back then.
Needful Things, at its heart, is the most simple of narratives. Essentially, imagine a new store owner comes to your town and offers to sell you something that you really need -- something you can't live without. And the price? It's always within your reach -- as long as you're willing to do the storeowner a little favor or two. Just harmless pranks that won't seem to hurt anyone too much. Would you do it? I know I would. And I bet you would too.
Except Leland Gaunt's pranks are not only going to cause harm, but they're literally going to tear the town of Castle Rock to pieces. His power over the town and his ability to make everyone do exactly what he wants is tantamount to him playing God. Or...better yet, the Devil.
This book scared me to no end and I loved every second of it. I was fascinated by the items that the townspeople would do anything for. I was in love with the way Leland Gaunt could use his words to seduce everyone. And I thought some of the ensuing chaos was just downright hysterical.
Stephen King's descriptions are so vivid in this novel that there were times I didn't even want to keep reading because I was so grossed out, LOL. It's like when you watch a really scary movie and you cover your eyes midway through (but still peek through your fingers). Except when you're reading, how can you possibly cover your eyes? The book forces you to read/watch the story play out and transports you into a world of mass hysteria, fear, desire, and magic.
5 out of 5 stars. LOVED THIS BOOK.