“I Could Never Let Holly Gibney Go.”

–Stephen King

I don’t have a book to go over this week. I don’t have a movie, either, though I meant to by now. I’ve been working on my own project, but nothing I’m ready to share here either.

I do have a bit of an update, though, although I imagine it will be old news by the time this posts. A release date has been announced for Stephen King’s new book, Holly.

The date is September 5th, 2023. If you keep track of these things, you may realize that Fairy Tale was released on September 6th, 2022. That means it’s a whole 364 days before we get a new book. I think that’s a bit out of the ordinary? I mean, last year we got a new Gwendy story and Fairy Tale. The year before that, it was Billy Summers and Later. This looks like it’s going to be a one-book year. I mean, I could have missed something, but my internet algorithms are pretty good at pushing King news at me by this point.

I selfishly don’t want to wait that long — but honestly, what am I expecting here? Stephen King could have retired and lived off royalties and adaptation money many times over already. He’s also 75 and I don’t think anybody would blame him if he stopped writing any books at this point in his career — most people are trying to be retired by his age (or they’re trying to be president, I guess). I’ll happily take any book he’s still willing to write and put out there. I’m just impatient.

I wouldn’t be too surprised if we got a short story or two this year as well. I don’t have any information on that… I just wouldn’t be surprised.

I know Holly Gibney is a somewhat divisive character among constant readers. That would probably be true of any character that an author decided to return to again and again like this, and Holly has some characteristics that maybe add to that divisive dynamic too. She’s a woman, for one thing — like it or not, there’s a segment of the fandom that’s very much a boy’s club, and what’s more, men traditionally just don’t read stories with female main characters. It’s a thing that’s sometimes discussed in reference to education — books students have to read are more likely to have male leads, and what happens is that girls learn to get interested in “boy stories”, but boys dismiss “girl stories” out of hand. I feel like that’s the kind of thing that, while it should certainly change, is also something that we should all pretty much grow out of by the time we’ve reached an age/reading level where we’re talking about Stephen King books. But then again, I’m a woman, so apparently, I’ve been conditioned to be more flexible about whose point of view stories I like anyway.

Holly is also clearly neurodivergent, which seems to bug some readers. I don’t know; I think it’s kind of a nice change of pace, and I wonder if it’s that neurodivergence that makes her a good detective and able to make connections and believe things that others can’t. I don’t know if King is writing her well as a neurodivergent character — someone more familiar with that would have to tell me what they think — but that’s not what I’ve seen complaints about. Like, I’ve yet to see anyone complain that she’s offensive or insensitive. More often, I see complaints that she’s “annoying.”

I disagree — I like Holly, and I don’t find her quirks annoying. King’s also progressed her a lot since she was first introduced. I don’t know if that’s realistic, but it’s probably easier to write her from that perspective than as she was when she was first introduced, especially if she’s going to be a main character. But to each their own. I do see how her frequent use of the word “poopy” could be annoying, but after surviving the language in Lisey’s story, honestly, “poopy” is nothing.

Holly as a supernatural detective is kind of outside of the rest of the King universe, so people inclined not to like her could always just skip the books and stories that include her without losing anything — though I suppose that could change with this new book. I really don’t expect that, though. But I’m looking forward to it, and I plan to have an update here to go over it, just as I have with everything else. I mean, that won’t be soon, but it will happen, so we have that to look forward to.


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