It’s been 24 hours since I finished Finders Keepers by Stephen King, read by Will Patton (exceptional narrator). I’m still dissatisfied with something.
I learned what “shit” does not mean, but did not learn what “shit” does mean.
As you may know, Finders Keepers (2015) is Book #2 in King’s Bill Hodges detective series. At first, I was startled to find that Stephen King is writing detective novels. But then again, why not? King is equally versatile as he is talented. King can easily embody the detective genre. “It might be the best detective story I ever read,” I thought. (Before I read it.)
After testing the full pudding, Finders Keepers was awarded only three out of my five stars.
A Disappointing Motif
My complaint, or disappointment, is very specific — yet specific to something continually repeated throughout the entire book.
Let me explain. (Don’t worry, this won’t be much of a spoiler.)
One of the characters in Finders Keepers is a famous author. This author character gets murdered early on. However, the fictional character he created, Jimmy Gold, seems to live eternally in the souls of young male readers, wielding tremendous influence on their lives, inspiring one to do this and making another do that. Whether for good or evil, the iconic Jimmy Gold is an unforgettable character in the annals of literature (at least, within the pages of King’s book).
The near-mythic Jimmy Gold character had appeared in the author’s highly acclaimed novel series many decades earlier. King’s story unfolds around the present-day discovery of unpublished Jimmy Gold book manuscripts — that are now worth millions. Nevertheless, the main characters in Finders Keepers are motivated more out of love for the books, than for their monetary value.
As a literary motif throughout, characters repeatedly quote a famous expression of the legendary Jimmy Gold. Now you know, the repeated quote of a monumental character of a renown author should really be something. Profoundly meaningful. Scoring your memory forever.
Hold on to your hats, friends. Druummmm Rollll….Please!
“Shit don’t mean shit.”
~ Jimmy Gold (and all his admirers)
Don’t tell me that isn’t a letdown. It doesn’t even mean anything backwards.
Looking for Genius
As a King fan, I’ve tried to find genius in the phrase. I’ve examined. I’ve pondered. Nothing. It remains barely mediocre.
Still, for the love of Stephen King, convince me I’m wrong. Is “shit don’t mean shit” supposed to be absurdism? A parody of big-ego authors? Does the phrase actually pierce the soul of the young-male reader demographic? Is Finders Keepers a treatise on nihilism?
I just don’t get “Shit don’t mean shit.”
However, ironically, despite the mediocrity, I may never forget the phrase. (Imagine, writing this little piece on the meaning of shit.) It’s so plain, so mediocre, compared to what King can do — that it makes me laugh. It’s like he didn’t try. “Shit don’t mean shit” is so stupid. It doesn’t mean anything. Or rather, “shit don’t mean shit” means exactly what it says.
What do you think King was going for?