Stephen King Marathon: “Gramma”

Well, I’m finally back to blogging after having an awesome, unforgettable honeymoon! Getting to finally experience being both out west AND in California was a lot of fun, and I loved having the opportunity to visit Walt Disney’s original Disney park. But now that I’m back, it’s time to resume this Stephen King marathon. For today’s blog, I’ve decided to go with another short story of his. From the collection called “Skeleton Crew,” let’s take a look at “Gramma.”

George Bruckner and his mother, Ruth, live with his senile gramma in Maine. One day, Ruth is forced to leave George alone with Gramma to visit her eldest son, Buddy, after he’s admitted to the hospital. George is then left to reflect on his gramma and the strange gossip and rumors surrounding her. Is there more to his gramma than even he knows? And how will he cope with having to take care of her himself?

I’m going to immediately start by saying that this story dragged for me. Once again, while King’s knack for detail is admirable and paints vivid imagery in your mind, there was too much of it here. Many details felt unnecessary to the story and affected the pacing as a result. That being said, I liked how he used the idea of younger kids sometimes feeling intimidated or scared by their grandparents as the basis for the story. It came off believable and we get to learn about how George’s gramma eventually became blind and senile, which would add to the scariest even if you’re an adult. Having to watch a loved one succumb to those kinds of symptoms isn’t easy, especially when you’ve been their caretaker like Ruth is here.

That being said, the supernatural element (yes, there is one) worked well here. It’s the kind of story that you’d think wouldn’t need one, but still works in context anyway. As far as characters are concerned, you do get a sense of what Ruth and Buddy are like, but the main focus is on George and his gramma. I got a good idea of how they were as people, even though it’s established that Gramma isn’t all she seems to be. I also honestly found myself enjoying the climax the most out of everything. It felt tense and the details really added to the horror. The ending was also very disturbing and creepy. I can definitely say that I found it far more satisfying than what “Graveyard Shift” had to offer.

Overall, “Gramma” is a creepy little story that’s unfortunately held back a bit by some slow pacing. The characters feel real, the details add some great imagery when they’re not being (in my opinion) unnecessary, and the ending was at least a better conclusion than what I got from the previous short story. Give this one a read, but don’t be surprised if it drags for you as well.

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