On the day Dale Barbara has decided he’s had enough of the small town of Chester’s Mill, Maine is the day the dome descends on the town closing it off from the outside world. The town Selectman, James Rennie — Big Jim to those who know him, which is everyone in town — takes charge seeing his efforts as all for the greater good. When hell begins to rise in the dome, Colonel Cox, a former colleague of Dale’s, wants to put him in change by order of the President of the United States but Big Jim has other plans. And those plans don’t involve letting Dale take charge of anything.
Want to know what will cause society to break down? Put people under a dome and let them have at it. And that’s pretty much what King does, or course, he adds a few little bumps to help it all come to a burnt crisp in the end by throwing in a meth lab, religious zealots, a nut job with a brain tumor, and mix up a few outsiders with the town natives with opposing thoughts on how things can and should be done and what you get is a big mess.
There are two points in the story when a character mentions burning ants with a magnifying glass and that’s essentially what this story is. A study in what people would do when forced into a situation they can’t control and can’t change. I liked the thought behind it, and frankly, the entire story up until the point when I found out what the dome was and how it got there was good. There are hints along the way but I didn’t want that to be the explanation and was a bit disappointed that was the case but, like I said, the story and what’s going on under the dome is what you want to focus on.
It’s not a nice story by any means. People are brutal to each other, they murder each other, and they go crazy. In a way, I guess I can see that being the result but I had trouble believing that so many of these mean bastards were all gathered in the same town. But that aside, it was where all the drama came from so you have to go with it.
This was a story I couldn’t put down though and due to a mistake on my part (when I put this book on hold at the library, I accidently put the large print edition on hold and it’s a very large book in large print) I read this book only in the morning and the evening. I couldn’t wait to get back to it every day and find out what these crackpots were doing to each other and the fresh tortures they managed to inflict on their fellow townspeople. This is what I expect out of a King book and I was satisfied with that.
There’s something I need to mention and it’s not something I ever thought would happen when reading a King book. He made a reference to a character created by another author. The author in question is Lee Child and his Jack Reacher character. It made me stop cold. Did he really do that? Yes, I think he did. Well, why not. It was so weird I had to mention it.
Here’s the thing about this book — I liked it. I really did for all its violence and horrible actions. Then again, I don’t go into reading a King book thinking I’m getting unicorns and rainbows so I was OK with that. If you’re not, try 11/22/63. The violence is more manageable, there’s a little love story, and it will still give you the chance to look in on the crazy things characters will do to each other.
Under the Dome
By Stephen King