June 19, 2018
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Biography tries to find what makes King tick

Contributed | BDN
Contributed | BDN
By Dale McGarrigle, BDN Staff

HAUNTED HEART: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF STEPHEN KING, by Lisa Rogak, Thomas Dunne Books, New York, 2009, hardcover, 310 pages, $25.95.

Lisa Rogak, who previously has written unauthorized biographies of Dan Brown and Shel Silverstein, has now turned her attention to Bangor’s own Stephen King.

King, who doesn’t seem to understand why people would be interested in writers such as himself, is a natural subject for such a biography. People want to know what makes him tick. He’s written precious little autobiography, with perhaps the only example a part of his instructive volume “On Writing.”

Still, King has never hesitated to offer his opinions on a wide range of topics, giving Rogak plenty of material with which to work. She also reviewed other books about him and watched all the films based on his books. As the 40 pages of notes and bibliography attest, much of the book is culled from such sources.

Also, King gave his permissions for his friends to talk with Rogak if they wanted to, and quite a few were willing to be interviewed.

Rogak goes right from the beginning, with King growing up poor in a single-parent household, to his present as an internationally known author. She delves into his many demons and how he survived both them and success.

The biographer is smart in sticking with the man himself, as many have previously tackled his prodigious literary output. She looks at what scares King enough that he’s been able to keep readers entertained for more than 30 years.

There likely will never be a definitive Stephen King biography, as long as he resists being interviewed for one. In “Haunted Heart,” Rogak does an admirable job pulling together materials from disparate sources into a readable whole.

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