Stories can no more be alike than snowflakes. The reason is simple: no two human imaginations are exactly a like. -Stephen King on his website about the similarity to “Under the Dome” and The Simpson’s Movie.
But great minds do tend to think alike — to a certain degree. When I saw that the protagonist in “Under the Dome,” Dale Barbara, is a short order cook. I couldn’t help but to think about another one of my favorite cooks turned hero Odd Thomas written by another great creative mind Dean Koontz.
Before I purchased the book, I didn’t know (or paid any attention to) the length. However, after I had picked up “Under the Dome” and saw that it’s 1,072 pages deep, the first thought that came to mind was “The Stand,” the longest book in King’s career at 1,153 (the complete and uncut version). So, much like “The Stand,” I was expecting an epic.
There are similarities to both “The Stand” and “Under the Dome” for example both novels have a strong antagonist whose power allows him to control ‘minions.’ “The Stand” has Randall Flagg, “Under the Dome” has Jim Rennie. The actions by both cause grave destruction to human life and both novels has a ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ element to it.
Initially, I believed that “Under the Dome” is a story about the human spirit and what happens to that spirit when it is cut off from the outside world — when the life you’re use to cease to exist. The novel is about that but I was 99 percent through the book before the REAL moral of the story is revealed:
“What did the leatherhead girl say to you at the end?”
“…’Wear it home, it’ll look like a dress.'”
“She was talking about the brown sweater?”
“No. About our lives. Our little lives.”
“If she gave it to you, let’s put it on.”
As human beings, we tend to take life for granted. Many times it takes someone — or SOMETHING — from the outside to remind us of that. King reminds us of that.
“Under the Dome” is long and not what I would call a page turner. However, I won’t necessarily call it bad either. King keeps the story fluid enough to make you want to find the answer to your questions — but not without a break. For habitual Stephen King readers, “Under the Dome” won’t stand out from, let’s say, “Lisey’s Story.” It’s a hybrid of “The Stand” with a child-like innocence of “Tommyknockers” (mainly because the aliens in this one are children.)
For the ‘Constant’ King reader, it’ll be alright to pass on “Under the Dome.” Once again, it’s not ‘GREAT’ but it’s not ‘BAD’ either. It’s like your favorite ice cream flavor — it’s good when you first taste it and although the flavor never change, you’ll get use to it.
For those who are new or not as ‘constant,’ you’ll enjoy it.