Horror; 672 pgs
From the Publisher:
Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.
Stephen King's books are infinitely readable. I may like some more than others, but he spins a good yarn and his books are generally quick reads. My interest in The Shining was more out of curiosity than actual interest in the story line. For years people have talked about how frightening this book is. If you've ever seen the show Friends, you know that Joey and Rachel found the book to be freezer worthy--meaning so scary they hid the book in the freezer. This, I had to see for myself. For some reason though, I got it into my head I had to read The Stand first (I know, totally unrelated book). Finally, last year I did.
So, when I heard about the Shine On, a read-along of The Shining, I joined up, looking forward to tackling The Shining at last. I have yet to be wowed by King, even though I keep hoping. I liked The Stand well enough, but was disappointed I didn't like it more. Cell was entertaining, but ultimately my least favorite King book so far. I did like Misery though.
I can definitely see why so many people get white knuckles while reading The Shining. It was quite intense in parts, especially near the end as the book reached its climax. By then I was so invested in the characters, it was a race to the end to see what would happen. I have been fortunate not to have been spoiled as to the end (and I hadn't yet seen the movie).
While The Shining isn't my most favorite horror novel, it is probably among my favorite King novels of the four I've read so far. I appreciated the depth the author went into in regards to the characters and their back stories, the foundation King laid, and the way the Overlook Hotel was much a character itself. As much as King went into the history of the hotel, I wish I, as the reader, had a chance to explore it more.
I never grew to like Jack, although at times I could empathize with him. I'm not sure I would have been as patient and accommodating as his wife was with him in her situation, but one never really knows unless you walk in that other person's shoes for awhile. Jack had a lot of problems, many unresolved. He wasn't the most insightful guy.
I did like Wendy, Jack's wife, to some degree, and not just because of her name. I don't feel she was as well fleshed out as Jack and Danny were, but perhaps that was the point. I got the impression she didn't have much of a self-esteen, a result of her past and a situation not helped by her husband. I felt bad for her much of the time, stuck between a rock and a hard place
I liked Danny and really felt sorry for him, for his circumstances. Here is this young boy with a preternatural gift that no one really understands. He's had to grow up way too fast, and is now faced with much he doesn't understands. King does a good job capturing the thoughts and fears of the five year old. I often wanted to pull him out of the book and protect him from what I knew was sure to come.
I was most drawn to the more psychological thriller aspect of the book--watching one of the characters go down the road to madness, seeing how it could grip the mind and twist one's thinking, deluding not only the victim but those around him or her too.
I guess the big question is whether I found The Shining freezer worthy. I can't say I did. White knuckles while holding the book for those last hundred or so pages, perhaps. But no, never did I have the urge to put the book in the freezer.
You can learn more about Stephen King and his books on the author's website.