A Mad Dash Through “Under the Dome”

A little over a week ago I saw a commercial for a new mini-series coming to CBS called Under the Dome.  I immediately recognized this as an adaptation of a book I gave to my brother a few years back. Since I’d been struggling my way through a strange Icelandic mystery I thought this was a good excuse to start a new book, and borrowed it from my brother.

The paperback comes in at just over 1,000 pages and I quickly realized I was going to have to make quick work of it if I was going to make it before the miniseries stars on June 24. Luckily, it’s a Stephen King book…and no one keeps you turning the pages like he does.

I can’t tell you when the last time I read a King book was, but it seems a damn shame that I haven’t been keeping up with him because I really love them. I easily surpassed the 30-40 pages a day that I needed to read and finished it in just over a week. Under the Dome is a lot like The Walking Dead, only instead of zombies the catalyst that sends people into a Lord of the Flies-spiral is a giant dome that just descends one day and closes off a town from the outside world. It’s more about the people turning onto each other than it is about the dome itself. In fact, I was kind of hoping King wouldn’t even explain what it was because I knew it wouldn’t be completely satisfying.

Just from a cursory look at the trailer, I can tell there will be huge differences between the book and the mini-series. I imagine it’s hard to cram over 1,000 pages of story into even several hours of television. I loved the book though, and I’d encourage you to try and plow your way through it before the series starts because it’s funny, heartbreaking, and a scary peek under the human psyche (and perhaps into our ecological future). I also think it’s kind of feminist, but you’ll have to read it to understand why. (No spoilers here.)

I’ve often said that one of the sure-fire ways to get me to like your book/show/movie is to set it in a small, quirky town with a colorful cast of characters. And King takes that to the extreme in Under the Dome. It’s not just that these people live in a small burg, they’re literally trapped there. (I’d consider visiting the fictional town, but once you get to the end you’ll understand why it’s no longer a place you’d want to go leaf-peeping.)

I’m excited to see the television version of this book, and I’m kind of sad that I moved so quickly through the book. Now I have to wait more than two weeks to be reunited with the good people of Chester’s Mill.

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