There are many problems with this book, but they can all be summed up with a quote from the actual text:
From page 297 of the hardcover, third paragraph, starting fourth sentence in:
But--this is important--tell me a story, one that has a beginning and a middle and an end where everything is explained. Because I deserve that. Don't shake the rattle of your ambiguity in my face. I deny its place. I repudiate its claim. I want a story.
No. Fucking. Shit. King spends a great deal of this book explaining to the reader that there's not always a definitive ending. He prepared us. But that doesn't mean I accept it. It doesn't mean I have to like it.
Listen, friends and neighbors, I can get behind a short story or a novella that leaves me with an unsatisfactory ending because they aren't time sinks. To be in the audience of a magic show wherein the magic is only alluded to is a terrible trick. I don't need everything explained. I don't need my hand held. But I want a complete story. This is not a complete story. It is a rambling mess. The shifts in tone are jarring. You never know what kind of book you're reading. The characters are taken part and parcel from The Green Mile. If you've read both books, you'll probably see where I'm coming from. I mean even down to the wild fucker named Billy. Billy the Kid... Billy Lippin. And yes, Sandy Dearborn and Paul Edgecomb are the same fucking person. I don't care what their names are. Sweet baby Tom Cruise, the parallels are so obvious it feels like Desperation/The Regulatorsall over again. Only this time, the books aren't supposed to be that way! Fuck this book. Take it out back and put a goddamn bullet in its brain.
Still, I cannot stand to give it any less than two stars. I want so badly to give it that single star, but I simply cannot allow myself to put anything King's written in the same category as the unedited garbage floating around out there. This was, according to Goodreads' star explanation, an okay read. I guess. I mean, I finished it. Twice. There are books out there (if you can even call them books) by authors (if you can even call them authors) who can't stay in tense for a single sentence. Some don't know the simple difference between their, there, and they're. These bumbling yucksters don't have a single fuck to give for their craft. King does. He's had his missteps, but he cares about the language. He cares about literature and the future of reading and readers. So no, I cannot bear to give this book anything less than two stars.
Spoilers for books other than From a Buick 8 in the spoiler section. Click on "view spoiler" at your own risk.
In summation: I can't believe I did it. I read From a Buick 8 twice. I might be the only numb fuck to have done such, but YAY ME! or some shit.
Final Judgment: Only slightly better than a lemon juice enima.