Book of the Day

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The Institute
By Stephen King
Schribner
$30.00
ISBN 978-1982110567
Publication Date: September 2019
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The Institute

Review by Liz Gatterer

Stephen King is my favorite author.  I was in third grade when I did my very first book report on his novel Christine.  The principal called my mother to explain that this was not an appropriate book for a child to read.  To which she replied “If she can read it, I will allow her to read it.”  And thus began my life long love of reading, passion in the fight against censorship, and my undying admiration for my mother.  So, please forgive me if my review is a little schmaltzy.

The Institute is Stephen King’s latest work featuring extraordinary children.  I think he loves to use children in his books because they are more resilient and noble than most adults.  And, because of this, they can bring out nobility and resiliency in adults. It may be a bit formulaic, but if it ain’t broke…

Luke Ellis is extraordinary.  Intellectually gifted beyond anything his parents and teachers can believe.  His is clever and kind and his future is wide open.  Then, he is kidnapped from his home in the middle of the night and taken to The Institute.  He doesn’t know where he is, why he is there, or what has happened to his parents.  But his is not alone.  There are other kids at The Institute and they are gifted as well.  But not like him.  They can move things with their minds or read another person’s thoughts.  It all seems like a mistake.  

A thousand miles away Tim Jamieson, is stumbling away from his old life.  With nowhere to go and plenty of time to get there, he is pin-balling from one place to another.  Temporarily coming to rest in a tiny town in rural Georgia. He accepts a job as a Night-Knocker (sort of a low-level, night-time, town security guard).  But fate puts folks where they are supposed to be and, if we are lucky, they figure out what they are there for before it’s too late.

Stephen King is such a great writer because he takes the absolute worst, most horrible elements of human nature and uses them to pull out the best in others.  In his novels, good trumps evil every time – eventually.