Sunday, September 26, 2010

Banned Book Day 2/ R.I.P. Challenge: Survivor Type by Stephen King

Today I'm reviewing a short Story From the Stephen King Anthology Skeleton Crew.This story also qualifies for my R.I.P challenge. Love when things line up like that! ;)
First a little about the Banning: Skeleton Crew was pulled from Campbell High School in Litcfield N.H. The book was part of an electives reading program. The program included several books focusing on mature themes including abortion, homosexuality and drug use. The parents who requested the pulling of this book said the stories promoted "bad behavior" and had a political agenda
I'm a huge fan of Stephen King but I have yet to make a dent in reading his prolific body of work. I hadn't read Skeleton Crew so I started reading Survivor Type knowing little about it. It's the story of Richard Pine aka Richard Pinzetti. He is a disbarred surgeon who has just crashed on a deserted island with little water and no food. Oh and he also has two kilos of pure heroin. Richard is a very interesting character. He is the sole narrator, having discovered a pencil and a journal on his life boat he begins to chronicle his experience.
He is arrogant and gifted as a surgeon. Te fact that he even became a surgeon is a testament to his strength and focus. Despite his arrogance i felt connected to Richard. He is the kid from the wrong side of the tracks. Determined to follow  his dream of being a surgeon Richard parlays an athletic Scholarship into a PreMed scholarship. But the old ways stick with Richard. He does a lot of side work during his training and even upon graduation: steals and sells drugs from his local hospital, takes prescription pads from fellow doctors. It catches up with him and he is soon disbarred. Richard is determined to get his license back so he brokers a major deal to transport 2 kilos of heroin that will get him enough cash to buy back his license.
He is almost there. His plan within sight of completion, until his cruise ship sinks and h is on an island alone.
The narrative voice of this story really draws you in. Richard has finally found a situation he cannot work to his advantage. He begins to crack, though he continues to write in his journal about his strength , his will , how he will survive, but the cracks are beginning to show. After breaking his ankle, Richard is broken himself, he is able to treat his ankle . Then there is this comment : "I have begun to think I may have to amputate" it was a strange comment. As a doctor I found it strange that he would jump to that conclusion.
Despite his drug pushing Richard has never taken drugs himself,now he uses the heroin for pain relief for his "surgery". I didn't see it coming even with his defensive "I told you ,I'd had nothing to eat for four days?"
The rest of this story is dark, creepy , fun!! I honestly couldn't find any truth to the claims made by those wishing to ban this anthology. The drug use is not glamorized.  In a very short month Richard becomes more and more unhinged. The heroin dulls his pain and seems to give him a manic focus to survive, by any means necessary,and to take advantage of the resources at hand, foot, leg, ear.....  ;)
I can't wait to read the other stories in the anthology.


Kailana said...

This is one of the few Stephen King books I have read. It was a long time ago, so I don't really remember the stories, but I do think I liked it for the most part!

naida said...

I havent read this one. It sounds like good, old fashioned King.
He's a favorite.
Great review ;)

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