In the Eye of a Boy: Back into the Childhood
Can two books of different genres share common features. It is quite doubtful that, say, a romantic novel and a detective story can cause the same stir in the reader’s soul.
However, in the case of Robert McCammon and Stephen King, the impossible becomes one step closer. Due to the specific features, the characters’ traits, the settings and other peculiarities of each of the books, the novels seem quite the same.
What drives the reader’s immediate attention to the books and makes the comparison possible is the use of stock characters that each of the authors resorts to. With help of the specific charm that these characters possess, the authors manage to keep their novels alive, as if there was something burning inside them – a smouldering piece of coal that will keep millions of children warm for another bunch of decades.
Who else could enchant readers more than a child living the hard life almost on his own, a little man in disguise? A cross between Huckleberry Finn and the Little Prince, this character will always remain the talisman of teenagers of all epochs.
Both romantic and touching, this is the character that each of readers want to be like, though no one will ever be able to become. Helping the readers believe in themselves, this character is the most loyal friend and the example to follow. It is peculiar that each novel has this true, though a little sheepish, character.
Chris Chambers in Stephen King’s novel and Ben Sears, a quiet and rather slow teenager who never tells the bitter truth of his life, both have the most negative family background, an alcoholic father, yet surprisingly they manage to stay pure and innocent as a child must in the world they live in.
Is that the friendship that helps them stay as they are? Hardly anyone can tell, yet there is one thing that is beyond any reasonable doubt: these two characters add the specific flair to each of the novels, making them lighter and more humane.
Another common feature of the two novels is the twists and turns of the plot. Both authors use the storylines that cross at certain points. For instance, the tragic event that Cory’s father witnessed as he tried to save the passenger of the car is quite similar to the shock experienced by Billy. Although McCammon tends to tell his story in much milder way than King, both of them tell in rather open way that the illusions of the childhood disappear easily.
It is also quite a curious detail that each of the novels portrays its lead character and his personal experience in the most striking way. Showing how the illusions of the twelve-year-old boy shatter as he sees that the world is filled with evil, each author emphasizes that, no matter how innocent the childhood could be, the time to step into the adult world will come.
There is very little that can warm one’s heart in the world of the grown-ups, the authors warn. Discovering that the world of the adults is filled with mischief and violence, the boys cannot help feeling intense grief, as well as the reader.
Thus, each of the authors drags the audience through the tunnel of fears and disappointment to show that this is the price for growing up. Painful and depressing, this is yet another step on the way to humanity. Unless the boys in both novels had experienced the shock of cognition, the illusions that they used to have would have veiled the truth, preventing to continue their journey to the future.
Although there is a time gap between the novels, both of them are enjoyed and appreciated by all generations. The authors’ secret is rather simple: they have created their novels for teenagers, which has made their books time-proof. Indeed, it is impossible to imagine that the novels will ever age.
Sometimes shocking and almost frightening, sometimes touching one and making tears well in people’s eyes, the novels tell the readers about the pains of growing up. They are inevitable, and that is why they will not kill. Yet the scars that they leave can stay for the rest of one’s life.