In the last October I proposed myself to read Doctor Sleep, Stephen King signed. I saw the book some time ago, but considering the author of Maine didn’t disappoint me ‘till now, I knew that it’s good idea to take enough time when I start reading something from him.
All done, I started reading Doctor Sleep but, even if it’s a catchy writing, I felt something is wrong. Not a lot, not very disturbing, but enough to make me search in my library the old copy of The Shining. And read it again with the same passion that I had when I’ve discovered Stephen King. Actually, The Shining was the second Stephen King’s book that I read years ago. And it became the book that caught me in the Stephen King’s world, a book that I read over and over again with the same pleasure as in the beginnings. It’s hard to get bored of The Shining; it’s more contagious than flu.
It’s also hard to leave reading before finding out how the things will finish at the Overlook Hotel. It’s hard to let the book on the nightstand, even if you know the end… or not. It’s not the end; Doctor Sleep waits for its turn.
The start of the plot is a cliché used by a lot of books and movies in this niche: a family that, forced by circumstances, needs to spend the winter in a haunted hotel. I saw and read this many times. Only the characters number and the scene are different – isn’t a pattern created by Stephen King, but successfully used by. Good job, Stevie!
Apparently, we meet Jack Torance – an author without inspiration and success, but still in trust with his luck (That in his lucid moments, when he’s not deadly drunk). And if his troubles with alcohol wouldn’t be enough, his family is facing indigence. Mr. Torrance still has to wait for the commercial success that would fill his pockets, even if the needs of little Danny and his mother Wendy are not so patiently. The winter approach makes things tougher. Seems that they get out of the impasse when Jack is temporary hired. During the winter, he needs take care of the Hotel Overlook in Denver – a godforsaken establishment. A good place for finishing his writing and offering Jack the possibility of reflecting his own life.
The bad fame that hotel acquired once with the caretaker suicide, after slaughtered his family, is not just a rumor. Is not a classic haunted building with a ghost haunting all the floors. Every room, every recess has its own scary phantom, with scary killing story.
Danny Torrance seems to be the most vulnerable in front of malefic events taking place in the hotel. Not just because it’s a child haunted by the childhood fears, believing in boogeyman. Danny has a gift: ”The Shining” that allows him reading the thoughts of adults, playing with his imaginary friend Tony and seeing hard to imagine things. For the ghostly residents, Danny is the biggest threat. Luckily Dick Halloran, who has his own shining and can telepathic talk with Danny.
The malefic hotel is improving its purpose: Jack falls in the trap. And the story evolves in a palpitating way. The ghosts squirm, making their way to the minds of the weak. Danny is shining. And he’s shining till the explosive end.
Even there are few characters, Stephen King succeeds to admirable draw them. Jack Torrance is from this viewpoint a masterpiece.
The ones who know King’s biography, know that the writer lend Jack a lot of his own life experience. Jack Torrance is, from a lot of viewpoints, Stephen King. Like the character, the writer worked for a while in education for possibility to pay his bills. He wasn’t fired, but quit after his books bought record contracts.
Like Jack, Stephen King fought depression and alcohol (and drugs) addiction, felt the despair of the guy who knows is talented and deserve more than a wretched job. The Jack Torrance’s inner struggle is also Stephen King’s. A struggle amplified by Hotel Overlook, draining all forces from Jack, making him a will-less tool.
Is a thrilling story, not just because of ghosts and their evil acts, but human dramas too.
I recommend The Shining to every one of you, even (especially) to the ones who have seen the homonymous movie. Jack Nicholson, with his evil face, is well picture for the cover, but the movie doesn’t offer the real pleasure that the book can give it.