It took me a while, but I did it. I finally did it! I read “The Shining” by Stephen King. This is a massive book, and I wasn’t sold on it at first. In fact, it took me 40 chapters to finally start loving the way Stephen King has crafted this novel of horror. The book is somewhat different than the movie in a lot of ways, and you will definitely tell the difference by the time you move towards the mid-point of the novel. I didn’t mind that, I loved the way the narrative worked, but you have to let it bloat, because it truly works like a boiler or furnace, it takes a while to heat up.
Woa! Sorry to stop your flow of reading. I wanted to interject and say that this is an older review. I know, old content isn’t always great. However, if you’re reading this, just know that this is a review that I wrote after reading the book in 2018. I’m working on 2019’s reviews, and will post them as I can, but this is from my archives. Sorry to break up the flow again, just continue reading, and please try the fish! I mean, buy the book.
At first, I didn’t think that this book was about a haunted hotel. In fact, a good portion of the book explains Jack Torrance’s drinking problem, his abuse of Danny, and his pressure on his wife. As the book goes forward you realize that he’s going through a hard detox as a caretaker to an old hotel. He is commissioned to be an off-season caretaker, and for the most part, he’s doing ok, until Danny starts to have problems, and that sends Jack and Wendy into a tailspin. As the novel tightens up, you get a lot of flashbacks, and content about Jack’s demise, and the bigger picture of alcoholism. Stephen King, in interviews, discussed that a lot of the elements were based on his battle with alcoholism, and it led to creating a very real to life character. Jack’s abuse scared me, as I have dealt with my own battles of abuse as a child. It’s much more magnified in the book versus the movie, that’s for sure.
The shining here is used as a weapon, and is used as a mental element. There’s also a lurking ghost element as well. This is much different to the movie’s element, but it works well throughout. You also get a different ending, a different process, and much more in depth explanations of what Danny’s special power is and how it works. That’s a great thing, and that pushes the novel to all new heights in the latter parts of the book. I appreciates the attention to that detail, and while Danny is a scared kid at times, he pushes on towards the end, and I loved it. At 5 years old, this kid grows a pair of balls, great stuff.
It took me 40 chapters of “The Shining” by Stephen King to start seeing the horror. This is a slow burning book. A lot is explained leading up to the final ten or so chapters, and it’s well worth your investment. I appreciated the attention to the stillness, the bellowing of the hotel, the ghosts, and the madness of Jack Torrance and his drinking problem. All hell breaks loose towards the end, Wendy gets it, Danny gets it, but you don’t see Dick getting it. Unlike the movie, there is salvation, there is no maze, and there’s a lot of details that are missed from the book when hell breaks loose.
It took me 2 weeks to read this. Longer than any other book I’ve read and reviewed for this blog. I will give “The Shining” by Stephen King 4 stars out of 5. I found it to be very worth my time at the end. I wanted to give up, but I kept going and was given a gift for it. I love the way things turned out, and I appreciated the elements of reality that Stephen King put into place. There’s a lot of nuance here, and it’s not necessarily the same that you would expect if you only saw the movie. The movie is great, no doubt, but this book really gives you closure, and so much more details as to the villain that Jack is, and how bad alcoholism, isolation, and abuse can become. I loved it.
You can buy “The Shining” by Stephen King by clicking here, and get a copy for as low as a buck or two