I haven’t used the ‘good book bad ending’ tag for a long time, but here we are.
Stephen King’s Later has all the elements you want and expect from him, except for the ending. It’s not like the controversial ending of It. I had no problem with that one – I liked the other-worldly turn it took. But this ending isn’t like that at all, it’s a more unspeakable but human horror.
Why, Mr. King, why?!
After I finished reading, I checked out two reviews (NYT and WaPo) to compare reactions, and neither mentioned it. Maybe it’s just me?
So, the story. Again, almost everything you want and expect from King, including:
- Kid with supernatural powers
- Warm relationship with his mom and kindly neighbor
- Gruesome scenes and poignant scenes
Jamie sees dead people, but the catch is that he only sees them for a short time after they pass away. He learns that if he asks them a question, they have to answer it and they cannot lie.
Sadly, it’s the adults in Jamie’s life who take advantage of his remarkable power.
Jamie is tangling with forces he doesn’t understand and eventually he has to fight an epic battle. Yes, if you’re a Stephen King fan this sounds familiar.
But Later isn’t a tired retread at all, it’s fresh and wonderful.
But that ending ☹
Have you read it? I’d love to know what you think.