Thirty-five years ago in April 1974, readers picked up a thriller called "Carrie." Its author is Stephen King, and he has enthralled audiences ever since. More than 300 million copies of his 60-plus novels circulate the world, and his latest title, "Under the Dome," is due out in November.
While they wait, fans might want to check out "The Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King" Author Lisa Rogak ("The Man Behind the Da Vinci Code" and "A Boy Named Shel: The Life and Times of Shel Silverstein") reports in the introduction of "Haunted Heart" "that "King does know about this book and told his friends that they could talk with me if they desired."
She meticulously documents all interviews and sources as she recounts his boyhood, his early days as a struggling writer, his various addictions and his rock-star status in the world of popular fiction. Readers also get a glimpse of his family life and his marriage to Tabitha Spruce, the woman he met in a literary discussion group while they were both students at the University of Maine at Orono. She is a writer, and they have been married since 1971. The book covers the 1999 accident in which King took a walk and was seriously injured by a man driving a van. The book attempts to explain the breadth and depth of his fans, which King himself finds mystifying.
Devotees might have seen a lot of the material in "Haunted Heart" before: King's own metaphor of his writing as fast food, his opinions about the movie versions of his stories, the description of his quirky, palatial home in Bangor, the charitable work he and Tabitha do and his musical gigs with a group called The Rock Bottom Remainders. Other members include writers such as Dave Berry, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, Barbara Kingolver, and Robert Fulghum.
Though most of the information in "Haunted Heart" is not revelatory, it is well-presented and succinctly told.
Read All About It is a column that runs in the Life section every other Monday. It's about children's books and young adult literature. Send notes to brandy.allport@jacksonville. com or call (904) 359-4378.
IF YOU READ IT 'Haunted Heart' Author:
Lisa Rogak Data:
St. Martin's Press, $25.95, 310 pages; ages 17 and older.