I must first disclose that I first read this book in its entirety in 1990. At that point, it really was not that long since the events (real and fictional) in the book (the entire 1970s) had taken place. I was born in the decade in which this book took place. This was the third or fourth Stephen King title I read (I read as many as possible between 1989 and 1991.) I think I re-read it a few times over the 1990s, but have not read it at all in at least 15 years (or possibly more.) I just read the e-book version, and I realized how long it has been. As an adult who is now significantly older, I think I now appreciate this book in other ways.
I liked this book when I first read it because it was less gory than many of Mr. King's other books. I must admit that I still like it because of this (really, in the last 17 years or so, I have had a lot less taste for gore.) Probably everyone already knows this story already . . . Johnny Smith was in an accident, and is in a coma for almost five years. He now sometimes gets knowledge from people and things he touches.
As an adult now, I feel like there was not enough back info about Johnny, more flashbacks about his childhood, etc.
As an adult, I understand even better the absolute sadness of this story. As a young teen, I cried, but now having had more of my own personal experiences, the absolute sadness of the whole situation Johnny is in just hit me in the gut.
Back in 1990, after reading the book, I checked out the movie with Christopher Walken from the local library. I really liked the movie version, although of course there were differences. Back in 2002/2003ish, I watched the TV show version, which had even more differences . . . it was okay.