Book Reviews

Book Review: Needful Things

For me Stephen King is a fail safe author, when I don’t know what to read I read Stephen King because I’m always sure that it’s going to be great. Needful Things was no exception as you’ll soon find out in this book review. Stephen King is one of the most prolic authors of our time, but Needful Things is one of this most iconic tales. Once reading Needful Things a lot of pop-culture references start to make sense.


It was the first novel Stephen King wrote after coming out of rehab for drug & alcohol addiction. So I’d imagine at the time, there was a weird sense of anticipation surrounding this book, This proved that King doesn’t need to follow the writer’s adage of “write f*cked, edit sober”. He’s still a great author sober. 

What Needful Things is about:

book cover Needful Things by Stephen King

Set in the town of Castle Rock in Maine (where else would it be?), the residents are intrigued by a new store, Needful Things. Now what exactly could that supply? Whatever you need of course, or rather, whatever you believe you need.

Leland Gaunt’s new store has something for everyone but his items don’t come cheap, and that doesn’t refer to the price tag. His customers, while immensely satisfied with their purchases, find the worst of themselves emerging in order to protect their new found property. A mere little prank or trick is a part of the terms of conditions, but Mr Gaunt knows his trade well and soon enough greed consumes the residents of Castle Rock.

Only Sherrif Alan Pangborn can feel something’s not quite right about the new clerk, but can he save his town from something much bigger than himself?

What I thought:

Like all of King’s works, this is dark and a sinister ambience of foreboding runs through out as there’s something about Mr Gaunt you just can’t put your finger on. It may be a lengthy novel, but it never bores. The amount of characters and frequent POV changes can be confusing at times, but by the end of it you could conduct the census of Castle Rock yourself! It’s alarming, brutal, and violent at times, but King’s humour always shines though for comic relief.

Even though Needful Things wont happen in real life (I hope) it’s a cautionary tale about greed. You can get your hands on your most desired posession, but at the cost of your decency and soul? The whole town falls apart after the store opens when one “harmless” pranks Mr Gaunt has his cusomers do ripple into chaos. 

Lealant Gaunt is such as captivating antagonist. King excells at writing bad guys, and Mr Gaunt is one of his best villians. 

I would 100% recommend this to anyone who loves horror and thriller novels. I have a book shelf full of books I’ve yet to read but all I want to do is pick up another King novel!

You might also enjoy, The Green Mile, Molls like it Hot, and Procession of the Dead.

Did you know Rick and Morty based an episode on Needful Things? Have you read Needful Things, or seen the Rick and Morty episode? 

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