“Lisey’s Story” by Stephen King
What’s it about? You can read the full synopsis here. This is the story of Lisey Landon (obviously, right?). We start in the present day, where Lisey is cleaning out the work-space of her writer husband, Scott, and then travel through time to learn the tale of their love and how Lisey saved Scott (on more than one occasion.) It’s a beautiful and honest story about love and marriage. But even more so, it’s an exploration of the things we share with others and the secrets we keep within ourselves. Also, there may be a little bit of travel to an alternate dimension. I mean, nothing adds spice to marriage quite like inter-dimensional travel, wouldn’t yous say?
Why choose this book? King himself has called this one of his most well written books. And it really is. The play on language creates lovely texture to this woven tale. That sounds cliche. however, I say “woven” because this story truly feels like picking up a thread and following it to the end, wherever that may be. It’s a personal favorite of mine. But beyond that, the many layers and relationships in this book provide a solid discussion for a book club and this unique tale will be yet another side of King for the avid fan to discover.
What to discuss/questions: For a book that is so critically acclaimed, I had a terrible time finding any questions on any sites. It’s what made me want to post possible discussion questions on this blog for others to hopefully find helpful in their own book club discussion. As always, though, Hodder & Stoughton did not let me down. Here’s a few of mine:
- In the very beginning of the book, King says “This is for your first good book… the one that got under you like a magic carpet and lifted you right off the ground.” What was the first book that did that for you?
- What were your thoughts on Booya Moon?
- This story is as much about marriage as it about other family relationships. What were your thoughts about the sibling relationships that existed between Lisey and her sisters and between Scott and his bother?
- As is typical in King novels, Scott Landon is a famous writer. How does he compare to other author characters in other King books?
- This story is also about language. In what ways does King talk about language? (Phrases, old sayings, the secret language within a marriage)
- Music is also a powerful element in this book. What were your thoughts on Scott’s taste and Kings inclusion of the different songs? In what ways does music play a part in your own life?
Constant discussion questions:
- Who was your favorite character and why?
- What was your favorite part?
- What were some of your favorite quotes?
- On a scale from 1-5, how did you rate this book? (This is always the opening question)
Make it fun! I had an absolute blast with this discussion. Firstly, we had a Hank Williams station on Pandora playing in the background. I’m all about ambiance. And we also had a fairly small group for this meeting. Which allowed me to create a bool hunt for each participant. I know, awesome, right? (If you’re unsure what a bool hunt is, the book will explain it for ya.) I was nervous that people might find it cheesy, but it ended up being a ton of fun. The book club discussions are held in a local bookstore and so I was able to use clues that were tailored to each person (and I even created a few generic ones just in case someone new decided to show up.) They were small bools with just 3 stations. I bought old timey glass Coca-Cola soda bottles for the prizes. There’s no RC cola anymore, so instead, I had Moxie in addition to the Coca-Cola. If you’ve never been to Maine and never had Moxie, I suggest you treat yourself. It tastes a little bit like NyQuil mixed with battery acid at first, but you’ll grow to love it as I have.
We had 4 individuals in the discussion (including myself) with an overall book rating of 4.5 out of 5. Yeah, people loved this book. Due to the group being small, we really delved into our favorite scenes and our favorite moments. I shared my favorite quote (of any King book) which is “Darkness loves him. He dances with it like a lover and the moon comes up over the purple hills and what was sweet, smells sour. Smells like poison.” We all loved the imagery of Booya Moon and talked at length about how it must look. I hadn’t discussed this book with many people prior to this and I was excited that the others loved Booya Moon as much as I did. Even the scary parts. I almost gave away a Dark Tower spoiler to one of the members that’s currently following the path of the beam, but caught myself just in time. Thank goodness, too! I wouldn’t forgive myself for spoiling the road to the tower for anyone! This book can be intimidating in size (few King books aren’t) but I do highly recommend it as a read for you and for your group. Until next time!