I’m never sure whether Stephen King’s ability to spend pages upon pages introducing a place or character is something that annoys me or something that I love. What these amazing descriptions allow me to do, however, is make connections between other King works and real life. Let’s talk about connections for a minute.
Richie Osgood. Because of the way my brain works, the minute I read his full name I began thinking of Richie Tozier from It. Beep beep, Richie. I don’t think the greasy little real estate agent would take too kindly to that. Then once I read the three page description of Richie Osgood and how he drove into the driveway with, his headlights bouncing off the windows and breaking Mike out of his vision, all I could think when Mike finally opened the door, his pants pockets loaded down with steak knives and bottles of bug spray was, “You Stole My Story.” Why does my brain feel the need to find connections between this novel and not one but two additional King stories?
And speaking of connections, I laughed out loud and dropped my book when I read that Rogette Whitmore was wearing the perfume, White Shoulders. My grandmother wore White Shoulders. It has got to be the perfume of old ladies the world over.
More connections… During one of the flashbacks, Mike hears Harry Auster say, “Shoot a Pickle.” This is something Freeman Ross says in Tommyknockers several times. Apparently it means something along the same lines as Damn It. Who knew?
At the end of the novel, the sheriff stops by to ask Mike if he had the Kyra. When Mike answered the door, he asked the Sheriff where Alan Pangborn was. Alan Pangborn is the sheriff from Needful Things.
During one of Mike’s many visions, he makes out with his dead wife on the floating dock in the lake. She tells him that “Everything down there is death.” This brought to my mind Pennywise the clown’s famous line, “They all float down here.” Which by the way is something my ex-husband used to croak when he got a cold, just to creep me out.
There are a couple great concepts in this novel that I’d like to touch on, the first being, “The Land of Ago.” This is the best description of memory lane I think I’ve ever heard. I know I’ve heard that reference in other Stephen King works, but for the life of me the others names have been stolen from my mental file cabinet. Probably by that pumpkin trifle recipe I just had to have. When I Googled, “The Land of Ago”, all the references were for 11/22/63, (which is next on my list for devouring, so stay tuned) so that wasn’t much help. Either way, “The Land of Ago” is how Mike Noonan describes his frequent “visions” or visits to the past when Sara Tidwell was still alive. He basically witnesses first hand her brutal rape and murder at the hands of some of the coming of age local boys. He also witnesses the drowning of Sara’s son Kito. Through Mike’s visits to “The Land of Ago” and him piecing things together in the real world, he is able to decipher that the ghost of Sara Tidwell is taking revenge on the ancestors of the men who raped her and killed her son. Personally, I say good on her, not that I condone murder of any kind, but a little revenge does a body good.
The other concept is, “The Kingdom of Underbed.” The only thing I can even begin to compare this to would be a G-rated version of the Todash spaces Roland describes in The Dark Tower. When we first encounter the “Kingdom of Underbed” it is when Mike notices that one of Jo’s books has fallen under the bed. He bends to retrieve the book only to have a vision of Jo hissing at him that it was her dust collector and she wanted it back. Understandably startled, he ponders this vision for a ridiculously long time. I love the idea of the “Kingdom of Underbed.” I do however have a great way to solve that irksome little problem of seeing my dead spouse there. Cram a bunch of junk under your bed. My “Kingdom of Underbed” is currently home to numerous stuffed species of plush animals re-enacting the movie “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble,” enough gift wrap to paper mache half the western sea board and of course, those pesky stray socks you thought the dryer monster had been eating.
When you boil it all down, Bag of Bones is about three things, love, custody and secrets. Having grown up in a small town myself, I can tell you they all have them. Some are kept better than others. The secret of what happened to Sara Tidwell all those years ago was one of the best kept secrets this small town had ever had charge of. Too bad it came back to kick them all in the pants.
Don’t forget to check out A&E two night mini-series, Bag of Bones, premiering Sunday, December 11, 2011. Matt and I are throwing a virtual viewing party via GetGlue’s social network, so make sure you visit the Viewing Party Page for more info on how to participate in the event.
Posted By @mouseylu