Review: The Shining by Stephen King

All Hallows ReadI see now why The Shining is one of Stephen King’s classics.  It features a wide variety of creepy things: ghosts, a slow descent into madness, wasps, extreme isolation, murder, blood, psychic ability, hedge animals coming to life…  I mean, there’s something in there that’s bound to give you a thrill. (And if not, then you are a very brave person, my friend.)

Most people know at least the basics of The Shining. It’s about a family of three—Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic; Wendy, his wife; and Danny, his clairvoyantly gifted five-year-old son.  The Torrances spends the winter alone in the Overlook Hotel high in the mountains of Colorado. Although it is shut down in the winter, Jack is hired to be the Overlook’s caretaker. Soon the Torrances are snowed in and completely isolated, and it becomes apparent that the hotel is trying to destroy them—or helping them to destroy one another.

shiningI enjoyed this book very much. It’s a bit of a hefty read, as many of King’s novels are, but it’s definitely worth it. The characters are quite well written, and King expertly jumps points of view (always in third person but showing us the story through various characters one at a time). Throughout the book, I vacillated among thinking Jack was a pretty okay guy, to hating his guts, to pitying him, which is presumably what King was aiming for. Jack is a complex character, barely clinging to sanity and sobriety. I completely adored Danny, who was much wiser and braver than most five-year-olds. He was the voice of calm and reason throughout the novel, despite the fact that he saw and heard things most others could not. I enjoyed trying to make sense of his visions along with him. And I loved Dick Hallorann, who possessed the gift of the Shining as well, and who helped Danny out the best he could.

The Shining is definitely my favorite Stephen King novel so far, and I read it just in time for the long-awaited sequal, Doctor Sleep, which was released only a month ago. I’m interested to see how the sequel will be received, and how it will compare to The Shining. And now, on to the movie!

This is part of my All Hallows Read ’13 series. 

This is book 7/60 of my Classics Conquest.


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