Monday, August 08, 2016

Bookworm Notes: The Fireman by Joe Hill

During July, I did a The Fireman readalong with Care and the usual suspects who make my online book loving life so agreeable.  I finished the book fairly quickly without doing a review or casting my impressions about on this blog. This is a job that needs to be done before I can move on and talk about other books in my life right now. But my short-term memory...yikes. Before everything about The Fireman fades away, I'm going to make a list:

1. I've only read this and Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. The Fireman is the one I prefer.

2. I went into this book feeling as if I would be reading a Stephen King book. That impression changed very little. The thing that makes it feel not like a King book is that when Hill's characters curse, it's not as creative or funny; it's the way real people curse, which is not as much fun on the page.

3. I know other readers brought up the title. Why that title? I guess The Nurse wouldn't have worked. Dragonscale would have made the book seem like fantasy. Well, I'm fresh out of ideas.

4. I had to stop reading and go listen to that Dire Straits song John and Harper kept referencing.

5. Back to Dragonscale. What a beautifully imagined disease and lovingly described.  An almost enviable condition. Very J.K. Rowling.

6. The book could have been a little shorter. Some of the scenes dragged.

7. I hated Jakob at first, and roared when Harper/Hill savaged his lame hidden novel, Desolation's Plough. (Nice extra jab...plough instead of plow) I felt as if this send-up was an affectionate shout-out to Uncle Stevie's On Writing. After a while, Jakob became so cartoonishly evil that I couldn't muster up anything but yawns for him.

8. The sheer bounty of references to other books, novels, authors, movies, songs, etc. made me so happy that I damn near glowed with Dragonscale. I am dreaming of the day when The Fireman is annotated. Please, O Publishing Gods, let it be soon! Don't make me wait too long.  I feel the stirrings of certainty that somewhere, this project is already underway.

9. Maybe it's because I'm under the influence of Hamilton, but I am seeing this book as a potential musical.

10. There's going to be a sequel, isn't there?

11. The supporting characters in the compound. I loved them, especially Renee (?) The characters' names are starting to slip away from me. The young girl/woman (name?) reminded me a bit of Katniss Everdeen and also of a character in one of King's recent novels. Doctor Sleep, I think it was. Carol was disturbing. Not over-the-top like Jakob, because the reader could uneasily understand her motivation.

12. Although The Fireman has a bleak setting and the world is in peril, the tone of the book is anything but bleak and flat. No Cormac McCarthy here. Instead, there is hope and humor. It seems odd in a dystopian horror novel, but I like it.

2 comments:

Sam Sattler said...

I'm starting to think that I am not being fair to Joe Hill by expecting him to someday match the quality of his dad's work. That would be wonderful, but I've come to realize that it's an unrealistic hope. On the other hand, he sadly shares some of the old man's writing faults...book bloat being the main one that comes to mind. In today's world, I find it really difficult to be horrified by horror novels, so maybe it's me.

Care said...

Great list! Glad you participated. It was fun but I am not quite running to read my next Hill. I expect I will someday, but. I even own Nos4 whatever it is.