Spoilers from the end of the book are ahead. Stephen King has described Lisey’s Story as his favorite novel of his, so it’s no wonder the author has written the Apple TV+ adaptation himself. While the book’s ending could be seen as anticlimactic to some, it’s all too fitting for anyone who is grieving.
The series, written by King and produced by J.J. Abrams, focuses on Lisey Landon (Julianne Moore), the widow of Scott Landon (Clive Owen), an award-winning and famous author. The book, released in 2006, is actually inspired by real-life events — in June 1999, King was seriously injured after being hit by a car in Lowell, Maine. Upon his return from the hospital, he discovered his wife had been redesigning his studio and placed King’s books in boxes, prompting him to reflect on what his writing studio would look like after he died.
Lisey’s Story tells a similar tale, only this time the author has actually died. In the book, Lisey is in the process of sifting through Scott’s work studio two years after his death as a number of fans and academics press her to release his unpublished manuscripts. As Lisey is working her way through his things, she begins to relive their shared past and is terrorized by his fans. Some of the memories she relives includes Scott being shot by a fan of his and the reader learning he comes from a family with a history of mental illness that tends to manifest itself as homicidal mania and catatonia. He also was able to transport himself to Boo’ya Moon, a world he created.
As Lisey is going through Scott’s writing studio, her sister Amanda (played by Joan Allen in the Apple TV+ series) sustains a hand injury and slides into catatonia. Before Amanda is admitted, however, she takes on Scott’s voice and says he created a “bool” hunt with a prize: Boo’ya Moon.
After this happens, Lisey is stalked by man who threatens to harm her if Lisey doesn’t hand over manuscripts. He writes her a threatening letter accompanied with a dead cat, which prompts Lisey to call the police, but they aren’t much help beyond stationing an officer outside her home. The man eventually gets through and harms Lisey with a can opener.
Lisey eventually crosses into Boo’ya Moon, where she is able to pull Amanda out of a coma and even save the life of the man who tried to harm her. The prize Amanda spoke of in Scott’s voice ends up being his last days with his family, with the confession that Scott killed his own father.
By the end of the novel, Lisey believes Scott has properly moved on. She often returns to Boo’ya Moon, when asleep and awake, herself having a difficult time moving on, before eventually bidding Scott goodbye in the writing studio we started in.
This might seem like a soft ending for the book given the stalking, terrorizing, and, you know, whole other world existing within this one, but for anyone grieving the loss of a partner or family, it’s the only ending that makes sense, and here’s hoping the Apple TV+ series sticks to it.
Grief is emotionally exhausting and for many, life never returns to “normal” — so why should it for Lisey? The existence of Boo’ya Moon gives her a piece of Scott she can return to when she needs to feel comfort or something familiar. Even though she may not feel grounded in this world, there’s another world... with Lisey’s story.