On the opening page of Stephen King’s Firestarter, Andy McGee and his daughter, Charlie, 7, are rushing up Third Avenue in New York City at 5:30 p.m.
A green car is following them.
Andy grabs a cab, tells the driver he’ll give him $500 to take them to Albany airport. Andy gives him a dollar, which the cabby accepts as a $500 bill, and they’re off.
The pair have escaped for the time being.
Unlike King’s 1979 bestseller The Dead Zone, which develops from a single premise that readers must take on faith, Firestarter requires readers to accept a whole series of assertions each of which requires a significant suspension of disbelief.
Readers learn, for example, that Andy and his wife developed psychic powers after participating in a government-funded test of a hallucinogenic drug while they were college students.
From infancy, Charlie displayed pyrokinetic* power.
The government is now after Charlie.
The feds apparently want to use her instead of nuclear weapons.
Charlie, apart from her psychic powers, acts more like of 21 than a child of 7.
All those elements strain credulity.
But mainly I can’t believe a New York cabbie mistaking a $1 bill for a $500 bill under any amount of psychic push.
Firestarter by Stephen King
Viking Press, 1980. 428 p.
1980 bestseller #5. My grade: B-
*Stephen King coined the word pyrokenetic.
© 2019 Linda G. Aragoni