The Plant – Stephen King Book Review

Well this was a pretty interesting story! Probably a horror story for any publisher out there. There was an editor who removed a manuscript from someone and instead of rejecting it outright as the guy sounded like a crackpot, he decides to give the guy a shot. He receives the full manuscript and what do you know! The entire story is absolutely horrific, realistic depictions of murder accompanied by Polaroid pictures which do not look doctored.

Okay, the disturbing part. Some of the photos (four, to be completely accurate) in the “Black Ma.s.s” scenes purport to show a human sacrifice- and it looks to me as if maybe they really did kill someone. The first photo shows an old man with an extremely realistic expression of terror on his face lying spread-eagled on a table in the greenhouse I mentioned. Several people in hokey robes are holding him down. The young man I presume to be Carlos Detweiller is standing on the left, naked, with what looks like a Bowie knife. The second shows the knife plunging into the old fellow’s chest; in the third, the man I presume to be Detweiller is reaching into the chest cavity; in the last he is holding up a dripping thing for the others to look at. The dripping thing looks very much like a human heart.

The editor, rightfully so, gets the police involved and sends a rejection letter to the author. This is where things start going south as the author sends a mysterious plant as a response to the editor. At some point the damn carnivorous telepathic plant takes over, for all intents and purposes, and we find it’s missed its calling. Should have been an editor too.


This serial novel is incomplete. There is no actual conclusion. King started on this around 1980 and has revisited it a couple of times since. It may be finished someday or it may not. NEVER. No way to know for sure.

This story is told entirely through letters, inter-office memos, and journal entries. It gives it a really cool feel that’s kind of fun and allows King to change voice and tone constantly whenever someone else is doing the “writing.”

Since this is a tapestry of 1st person POVs (whatever dialog there is is recounted by whoever’s got the pen at any given moment), he tries to make sure they all sound different. With some characters, he succeeds. (There’s a couple of vocabulary-challenged antagonists who can’t write worth two dead flies. Getting in THEIR heads couldn’t have been too easy for somebody as pathologically eloquent as he is, but he managed it.) With others, he slips and their voices sometimes become interchangeable. With the black janitor, he goes completely overboard, unless the fella is talking to himself in his diary. There’s this totally demented, stunningly ham-fisted rendition of black slang King used to do when he was young – it filled me with utter cringe whenever he saw fit to inflict it on his readers. It’s in The Dark Tower, it’s in The Stand, it rears its ugly head here as well but shockingly, I couldn’t care less. I was in it for the general hilarity, and it wasn’t affected, except in parts 5 and upwards because things start getting dark and heavy.

I really liked it and truly hope that he picks it up again sometime because I really want to know how it all wraps up.

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