Lately, I've been applying the Bechdel test to books. It's actually quite sad how many of them fail. From a techincal standpoint, this book fails as well. But like Gravity, it is a story about survival with other characters making only brief appearances.
Trisha is a young girl whose parents are divorce, and in part the book is about her struggle to come to terms with the change in the family. Her journay though the dark, dark woods that she finds herself lost in mirrors in some ways, the journay that her family is on as they struggle to come to terms with a new life. It is hardly surprising if the reader wonders are the ghosts and demons real or only in Trisha's mind.
What King does is capture, to a great degree, the mind of a young girl and her struggle. (To be fair, at times Trisha seems to be older than her given age). There are wonderful lines about Twinkies. He captures the friendship of young girls quite well with descriptions of Trisha's relationship with Pepsi (her friend, not the drink. Look, I know. But we all know someone who would).
Neither Trisha's mother or her father is demonized. In fact, we see what Trisha gets from both of them. And while Trisha's spirit animal is the pitcher Tom Gordon, some of her survival knowledge comes from her mother.
There is so much in this brief book and yet it is just right. Not bloated, and not a wasted word. Yet it covers family relationships, survival, nightmares, and religion.