Tuesday, December 10, 2013
15 of 1001 Books: Stephen King's The Shining
Summary: Jack Torrance has taken a job at the Overlook Hotel where he will be the caretaker while the staff and guests are moved out for the winter before it snows in. Torrance is also bringing his wife, Wendy, and his son, Danny, along with him to live in the hotel in the months that it is closed to the public. Not long after arriving though Danny is made aware of the horrors that have happened in the hotel, and with Danny's special abilities he becomes the prime target of seeing into the heart of the hotel. By the time the family discovers what lies within the hotel it might be too late.
Characters: I think all the characters, particularly Jack, are very well developed. Wendy though I'm still conflicted about. She makes some not too smart choices in the book, and she is aware of just how dangerous Jack can be, but yet she is still with him despite living in fear that he could relapse ad has. I understand it can be difficult to leave someone, but at the risk of you and your kid's safety it may be better than what they could have to go through again. Jack seems like he really wants to be a better guy, but his thoughts and actions show that long before entering into this hotel he wasn't a stable person whether drinking or sober. Alcohol just didn't seem to be his only issue. Even if he was to never touch alcohol again and never touched anyone in anger again it still doesn't erase the fact that his thoughts are really morbid. Then there is Danny who is a smart little boy, and honestly it would be difficult to just dislike him. Another likable character is Dick Holloran becomes an interval part of the story, but I'll avoid spoiling.
Writing: King's writing is just always spot on. I don't know how anyone feels worthy of being a writer if you've read his work, and you can't at least put together narrative and dialogue as he can. Don't get me wrong, plenty of authors are great, but King is one of the best at writing. He captures people realistically. I know a lot though do complain about how he writes women and children though. Personally, I would prefer reading them in the way he writes them. I am sure the book has went through some edits since the copy I was reading, which looked really old, but I did have some major typos that left you puzzling over the intended word though.
Plot: The plot is really terrifying, but yet the ending sort of was too light considering just how dark this book is. I guess I was expecting an ending more along the lines of Pet Semetary, but I guess that doesn't leave room for a sequel? The inner dialogue is well woven into advancing the characters though, and the imagery that King creates as far as what happens in the hotel is just terrifying. I got chills reading the book. I guess the biggest piece that probably others will differ on is whether Jack is able to redeem himself in the eyes of the reader. Personally, I think he would psychological therapy before he could even consider himself someone safe to be around.
The Shining ranks as one of the most terrifying books I've read. I believe the ending is a huge piece in how terrifying the book is in hindsight though, and the ending just felt so peaceful in comparison to how this book starts and continues on. This isn't a book you would want to drag out at night though. King still can write the heck out of terrifying scenes, and he does capture you and make it really difficult to put down the book even if you understand sleeping is going to be hard.
Rating 9 of 10.