Non-stop ’80s hits


Frankie - - READ ALL ABOUT IT - Words Caro Cooper

MISERY BY STEPHEN KING // Ev­ery decade has been good to King, but the ’80s were re­ally his time to shine. Af­ter all, his vi­sions of hor­ror and psy­cho­log­i­cal tor­ture fit so per­fectly with the coked-out deca­dence of the age. In Misery, we meet Paul Shel­don, a ro­mance writer res­cued from a car crash by a fan named Annie Wilkes. If you thought Tay­lor Swift fans were in­tense, think again – Annie is so upset when she learns what Paul has in store for her favourite char­ac­ter, Misery Chas­tain, that she holds him hostage, forc­ing him to re­write the tale. The cli­max is a litany of vi­o­lent acts, schlock, psy­cho­log­i­cal hor­rors, and all the ter­ror you need for a month’s worth of sleep­less nights.

THE BON­FIRE OF THE VANITIES BY TOM WOLFE // The ’80s were a time of ex­tremes – ex­treme hair, fashion, money. Wolfe cap­tures it all from the com­fort, and later dis­com­fort, of Sher­man Mccoy’s mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar Park Av­enue apart­ment. The novel cen­tres on the Wall Street ex­ec­u­tive’s mis­ad­ven­tures – specif­i­cally, the way his life is turned up­side down when he and his mis­tress are in­volved in the hit-and-run of a young black man. Wolfe clev­erly cap­tures the racism, ego­ism and sex­ism of the age in this tale of a man fallen from grace. THE WITCHES BY ROALD DAHL // Surely, surely you’ve read this book al­ready? If not, then you should def­i­nitely stop reading the re­view and get to the li­brary. On your way, keep an eye out for women in long gloves, wigs, and with spit the colour of ink. (Re­ally, you should prob­a­bly be wary of any­one like that any­way.) The Witches is a clas­sic good-ver­sus-evil tale, but I’d never con­sid­ered an al­ter­na­tive evil... is this a misog­y­nis­tic tirade? Ap­par­ently, the sex­ist un­der­tones of the novel have led to it be­ing banned from some schools. Nev­er­the­less, it’s worth a gan­der, as most Roald Dahl tales are.

THE AL­CHEMIST BY PAUL COELHO // The Al­chemist is one of those books that sits for so long on so many book­shelves that most peo­ple are con­vinced they’ve read it. That was me, any­way. Turns out I hadn’t. I’d never met the little shep­herd boy San­ti­ago; read about his dream; fol­lowed him to Egypt; learnt of the “Per­sonal Le­gend”; or, let’s be hon­est, dis­cov­ered my true self. The Al­chemist isn’t for ev­ery­one, even though we all have a copy. If you loved Sid­dhartha, The Little Prince or The Prophet, maybe give it a whirl.

THE COLOR PUR­PLE BY AL­ICE WALKER // Be warned: this is not a he­do­nis­tic ’80s romp. In fact, it takes place dur­ing the 1930s in Amer­ica’s Deep South. It’s the bru­tal story of the treat­ment of sev­eral gen­er­a­tions of African-amer­i­can women at the hands of men and a grossly un­just so­ci­ety. Sex­ual, emo­tional and phys­i­cal abuse are rife. Strong char­ac­ters seek­ing sal­va­tion where they can, and fight­ing back when they can­not. Amongst the vi­o­lence and trauma, Walker has crafted a mag­nif­i­cent story. Be pre­pared.

THE VAM­PIRE LESTAT BY ANNE RICE // What’s bet­ter than a schlocky vam­pire book? A vam­pire book where the nar­ra­tor takes the stage as the lead singer in an ’80s rock band, of course! I bet he could even walk on stage in the same bil­low­ing shirts from his 18th-cen­tury vam­pire days. Fashion re­ally does come around again. The Vam­pire Lestat tells Lestat’s story, from his hum­ble be­gin­nings in the mor­tal realm to his trans­for­ma­tion into a fanged crea­ture of the night, with a whole lot of vi­o­lin play­ing in be­tween. Lestat’s a jerk, but which ’80s front­man wasn’t? If this didn’t grab you at ‘1980s front­man’ and ‘vam­pire’, it prob­a­bly isn’t for you.

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