I really am not going to spend much time on this review. I think everyone and their mother has read this book at this point. I have this one in my permanent Stephen King book collection on my bookshelves and it was great to re-read this one after not reading it for I think about 3 years since I last read this right before Doctor Sleep came out. I may still be disappointed with Doctor Sleep by the way.
"The Shining" follows the Torrance family (consisting of Danny Torrance and his parents Wendy and Jack). After a very bad thing happens (which King rolls into the main story expertly) Jack is given a job to be a custodian to a hotel in Colorado called the Overlook. Due to the snow that the area gets, the hotel does not have guests after the fall. Instead a custodian is asked to stay and keep certain parts of the hotel warmed and to release the pressure on a boiler. This seems a very easy job to have and something that will get the Torrance family back on their feet, instead, the family living at the Overlook for the winter, leads to something sinister waiting for them.
The character of Jack is pitiable from beginning to end. He is a man trying to do right by his family, but keeps making mistakes due to his temper and his drinking. You do get his love for Wendy and definitely for Danny. But when the long slow roll towards what can be his family end starts, you do want to shake Jack and say wake up.
Wendy I found to be a little flat in the re-read, but honestly I don't think King knew what to do with her until danger rears it's head. At times you got the feeling Wendy is jealous of the relationship between Jack and Danny (and she admits it) but she didn't seem to have much to do but worry over them both.
Danny does come fully alive while reading. I think ultimately The Shining is a book about fathers and sons and how close that bond is at a young age. Of course at the age I am now, I do wonder at Danny Torrance being six and to be as highly intelligent and smart as he is. But due to the shining, I was fine with making some allowances his way. King I often thought had trouble writing young children, he is great at pre-teens, teenagers, and adults though.
We also have Dick Hallorann who ends up being just as important to the overall story due to the gift that he and Danny Torrance shares. I do see now though that the flow of the novel was slowed down anytime King transitions back and forth between the family in the past, present, and back to Dick though.
The setting of the Overlook is a malicious thing and the whole book has you feeling as if you are being watched every second. I may have turned up the heat a little bit while reading this book.
This book is peak King for me honestly. Everything including the ending (which he has trouble sticking at times) works. The ending makes sense based on everything that came before it, and I applaud King for not just throwing out a happy ending when I think that would have made readers (or constant readers) just as happy.
Task the First: The Winter Wonderland:
- Read a book that is set in a snowy place.