I love a good carnie story and coming off a season of American Horror Story set in a carnival and Twisty the Clown, the time was right for me to pick up Joyland. This is only the third Stephen King book I have ever read but I thoroughly enjoyed this story.
It’s set in the 1970’s in a seaside town in North Carolina. There is an interesting and somewhat mysterious owner, lots of creepy, shady carnie types running the rides, a good legend about a murder in the haunted house ride and a likable set of characters that many of us could relate to as people one meets in those summer jobs of youth and end up lifelong friends.
Devin, the narrator, has taken the job for the money but his first real love relationship is fading away and the carnival job coupled with the boarding house he is living in provides that escape where in his own words he can wallow in the music of The Doors and Pink Floyd and mourn the end of his relationship.
In addition to Devin and his new friends trying to solve the legend/murder mystery of the haunted house, we see through those wonderful sepia tinted glasses of time a summer fling/romance, the blossoming of his friendships and the loss of his naivete, the nature of his relationship with his father and ultimately his coming of age.
It is not a long story. I read it in one day. But it is so well written and such an enjoyable setting with great characters that I can recommend it with no reservations.