Review: Mile 81 By Stephen King
Blurb from my Stephen King page (written as I was reading Mile 81) Read below italics for the Mile 81 review if you dare!
My first King book I read was Carrie, quickly followed by Firestarter and I loved both of them. But the one that really grabbed me and made me fall in love with Stephen King and horror was The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon. The main character was a normal girl like me (who lived by the woods, no less) who got thrown into the scariest situation that I didn’t know if she could get out of.
I was hooked.
The character, Rachel, in Mile 81, reminds me of this Girl. She seems to be made of the same stuff that the Girl was. That stuff that fights in order to survive and is forced to let go of her little girl status in a heartbeat. And Mile 81 will also leave you wondering if anyone will get out of this alive.
If you have not been to Mile 81, you need to go now
Right after you read this, of course. (Don’t worry, no spoilers!)
Yes, it is arguably the scariest stop you will ever make on the highway, but you do not want to pass by this rest area. And be sure to know, you will get no rest until you have experienced the full Mile.
If you enjoyed Christine, you will definitely love Mile 81, as you will see that Mile 81 could be one of the places that Christine would have called home. But I will focus on the pure rush of adrenaline and terror that you will feel from the Mile.
Once the horror of the Mile pulls you in, you will not be able to leave this stretch of highway until the ride is over. The characters are fully sketched out and are very believable and you are made to care about them and hence to fear for their lives in typical King fashion (in which nothing is typical).
Hang on tight and hold your breath: no safety bar on this ride
But you fear that no one will be able to make it out alive on this ride and you hold your breath for the characters who you hope just might make it and you are not able to let go. You hold onto that bar that is supposed to keep you safe on the ride and it seems dangerously loose.
Completely taken in and horrified for the characters, the tension was past the tipping point. I definitely felt my emotions building up for these characters. The “safety” bar will keep slipping open, leaving you flirting with death. You definitely are kept on a hairline edge between life and death and just when you think you are home free, the safety bar will be wildly torn completely off.
It is as if it is your life on the line or your best friends’, your loved ones, or your children’s lives. The ones you hold most dear. These characters will stay with you.
Some of it is told in that way I love (and fear) when you know something is way off and something is going to happen that will terrify you, have no doubts about it. That adds more layers to the tension as you don’t know if anyone will come out alive and you hope against hope that they will. And that at least some of the characters will come through for each other.
There is amusing humor dispersed throughout but you will still feel the complete rush of the spine-tingling chills and nail-biting panic (make that the-complete-ripping-off-of-the-entire-nail-and sticking needles-in-your-cuticles-type of panic).
There is no way to fully describe the deliciously dreadful state of mind you will be in- (and may have gotten a taste of if you were following me on Twitter as I read and posted my live reaction) so all I can say is get off the highway now, don’t wait any longer and don’t let the fear deter you! I can only say that I hope you survive it. This is not for the weak of heart and even people used to King’s rides of terror will still have their breath taken away on this one.
I didn’t know if I could keep holding on as it really whips you around and I was holding on so tight that I was numb from the apprehension. (If being numb from horror is possible? Would like to hear your take on this.) But of course I had to keep going and find out what was ahead for the characters.
The only part I didn’t like was that, like the scariest and faster roller coasters, it was over very fast and I wanted more. But there is no shortage of King and I would definitely go to this Mile again (and other stretches of his haunts and highways). I can only hope there will be more of the monstrosity that was Mile 81.
After reading, I was still too much in a state of shocked horror and the adrenaline had not worn off yet, (it still totally hasn’t!) that I could not make sense of writing the review yet (add to that the fact that I had to go to work in a small number of hours and so needed to sleep).
I am glad that I documented my reaction as I read Mile 81 and so I will leave you with that to give you just a taste and hopefully you are not pushed too far over the edge of the divider. I wouldn’t want you getting stuck at Mile 81, now would I?
(Note: The following quotes are my live reaction from reading Mile 81, but may be slightly changed from the original twitter version posted, so that you can get the full idea.)
“White knuckles, tense, holding my breath.”
“Heart racing, chills down my spine, have to read on, but I’m so scared for them, I don’t know if I can face the horror and what is going to happen.”
“Eyes scrunched tight, want to hide under the table, but won’t be safe there either!”
Quote from Stephen King’s Mile 81: “Had to fight every instinct in my brain and my body to keep from running.” My version- “HAD TO FIGHT every instinct to keep from dropping the book and running away in terror, but could not STOP reading!”
Have you read it? Please share with me your reaction from reading!
What other King novels do you love? What was the one that you first read or that made you fall in love with King and the horror genre?
And if you have an answer to my question above, please answer in the comments: Is being numb from horror possible?
(And would love to hear your live reaction as well if you are/will be reading it- talk to me about Mile 81 and all things King on twitter @Bookwormcastle)
To hear more and to join the Mile 81/Stephen King discussion on my blog, please visit my Stephen King page