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Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King

Review

Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King

My first introduction to Stephen King was SALEM’S LOT,
which I read in the mid-1970s while my husband worked nights and
our children were fast asleep. At that time, although I had to wake
up at 6:00 to get ready for work, the story kept me up reading
all night. It both fascinated and frightened me; I was too
fascinated to quit turning the pages and too frightened to close my
eyes. Since then, I’ve been a fan of King’s and have
read most of his novels as well as his memoir of the craft, ON
WRITING.

HAUNTED HEART by Lisa Rogak portrays King’s life and times
in a conversational tone and voice, yet in a thorough and
convincing manner. The book includes facts, anecdotes,
interviews, quotes, several photos and a timeline. Some of the
information here are already known from news stories, magazine
articles or other sources. Much of it, however, is new --- at least
to me --- and I suspect to others as well.

What sets this unauthorized biography apart is that Stephen
King, the man and writer, is examined in the context of his times:
a child raised by a single mother during the 1950s; a college
student and protestor during the Vietnam era; a young
father, husband and struggling writer working menial jobs
in the early 1970s; a prolific and highly paid writer
beginning in the mid-1970s; a generous benefactor; a loyal Red Sox
fan since his childhood; a rehabilitated abuser of alcohol and
drugs; a victim of a near-fatal accident at the turn of the
century; a devoted husband for nearly four decades; and a proud
father and grandfather.

The chapter titles, which are also the names of some of
King’s works, give clues as to the narrative that follows.
For example, Chapter 1, “Apt Pupil,” covers
King’s early childhood and formative years. His terrifying
accident and recovery after being hit by a van are discussed in
Chapter 12, “Misery.”

HAUNTED HEART contains personal information about King that I
have never read before, most notably about his wife, Tabitha, and
their three children, Naomi, Joe and Owen. While the anecdotes
about the loyalty and love of Tabitha and their devotion to
their kids complement the biography, I had hoped it
would’ve included photos of them, as well as his mother Ruth
and brother Donald. Nevertheless, I found HAUNTED
HEART to be an interesting and a readable book. I recommend it
to anyone who wants to learn more about Stephen King, the
incomparable writer who has created some of the most haunting
stories that have fascinated and frightened readers for
decades.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt (dvolkenannt@charter.net) on January 22, 2011

Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King
by Lisa Rogak

  • Publication Date: January 5, 2010
  • Genres: Biography, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 0312603509
  • ISBN-13: 9780312603502