Hearts in Atlantis - Stephen King I read this in its unabridged audiobook format and was initially held spellbound. At first glance, this isn't a book I'd pick up and read on my own which is is probably why I didn't purchase it before now but I always enjoy Stephen King's voice and the first story "Low Men In Yellow Coats" is no exception.

It clocks in at 320+ pages and is a novel in and of itself. "Low Men" tells the story of Bobby, a young boy growing up in the 60's with a bitter, angry mother who claims to love him but who definitely does not like him. He has a small group of friends who dodge town bullies but finds true kinship with an old man named Ted who has an odd secret. When Bobby's mom goes away on business Ted looks after Bobby. During their time together Bobby learns many truths, some ugly some stunning. It's funny and heartbreaking. Great stuff.

The second story "Hearts In Atlantis", unfortunately, didn't do it for me and I often found my drifty mind floating away as I pondered all of the laundry that I had left to do when I returned home from work. The rewind button got a lot of use during the rest of this audiobook . . . It's basically about a group of college students living through the Vietnam War. The boys do a lot of trash talking and play a card game called "Hearts" which becomes an obssession for many of them. As the Vietnam war protests heat up and these guys fear expulsion for their lackluster grades the plot plods on . . .

Next up is the story of one of the unlikable kids featured in the first novella. Will is all grown up but is haunted by his past, particularly the incident that made him such an unlikable character for me in "Low Men". This story, like the previous one, was unremarkable and tough to get through. Same goes for the next two stories which wrap up a few loose ends. I wish I had stopped the audio after reading "Low Men" but I'm a glutton for punishment