Thanks to Loni who alerted me to this story last week.
Stephen King's "Herman Wouk is Still Alive," a story about a brutal car accident, the lives of those in the car and of those who witness it, is one of King's more realistic ventures than the supernatural stuff he is most often known for.
It's heavy and emotional and thought-provoking. Thankfully, the comments that follow the story echo many of the thoughts I had while reading, which is a refreshing change from the comments that follow YouTube Videos (last night's most recent comments on Rebecca Black's "Friday" video read "Osama watched this video and killed himself"). At the Atlantic where King's story was published there are, of course, the typical personal insults ("You are a moron."), off-topic chatter, and over-the-top rants, but for the most part people were actually have intelligent discussion about the story, some questioning the same thing I did as I read it. The women driving the car were poor, overweight, one was sexually abused by her father, single parents of a lot of kids, they ate crap, and were quite frankly, stereotypical of lowerclass white folks, or in harsher terms, white trash. Commentators questioned whether or not King could authentically write from such a perspective. He was, apparently, quite poor himself once upon a time, but that doesn't mean he knows what it's like anymore by any means, especially for a single mother. But while those commentators duked it out over whether or not King was perpetuating stereotypes or if he was unfortunately on-the-money, I decided I didn't care. In the context of the story, they were believable characters. I didn't get that King had a checklist of traits he had to ensure made it into the story or that he was making some sort of point on class, I got that he had a story to tell. I find King hit or miss, but I've never found him even remotely pretentious. And this story, dark and cynical as it is, is a hit.
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