Rich in imagination, Stephen King’s The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is thrilling, thought provoking, and will be on my mind for quite a while. It is a perfect read for the month of October and Halloween. The title of this book gave me the impression the stories would belong to the horror category. Though some are unsettling, none are scary and I wouldn’t call it horror. This isn’t a bad thing though, just something to be aware of, especially as how King is known for his horror. I certainly didn’t get any “bad dreams” after reading the stories, but I did fall asleep reflecting and thinking about what I had read that evening. The stories stuck in my brain, which shows how thought provoking I found them to be.
The stories are brilliant and vary in length, style and theme. And, like King himself says, the best of the stories have teeth: little details that stayed in my mind after. I found if I left a story halfway through, I was itching to know how it ended. Once I had finished it, I needed a little time to process and think through what had happened. My favourite was ‘Bad Little Kid.’ So creepy.
Before each story, King provides a page or so on either the themes behind the story, or something that helped influence him when he wrote it. In one introduction, he admits to not remembering when or where or why he wrote a particular story, only that he wrote it. King is honest in his reflection, and has a subtle wit that had me smiling.
An anthology like this is great to have sitting by your bed, available for your perusal just before bed. Thought provoking and sometimes creepy, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is perfect for those who enjoy King’s unique and captivating prose.
I give it 4 stars and am looking forward to re-reading many of the stories.