Friday, July 11, 2014

The Shining by Stephen King

Entertainment Value – A Readability – B Overall Value – A 

Last month, I entered the universe of the horror novel. More specifically, I entered a universe created by the horror lord himself. Well, I guess that would be Edgar Allan Poe, but I am referring to the master storyteller Stephen King. In the Shining, we are introduced to Jack Torrance, a man with a dark past plagued by alcoholism, but this is merely the tip of the iceberg, along with his wife, Wendy Torrance. His son, Danny Torrance, possesses the Shining, the ability to read emotions from others, and see dead spirits lurking. The story has layers and layers of build up with the inclusion of ample flashbacks and we come to learn much about each member of the Torrance clan. As Jack is hired as the winter caretaker for the Overlook hotel, a place haunted by a dark past, his family moves to the Colorado resort and the fright fest begins...
I must admit, when I finished the 660th page of this book, I was just relieved to be finished. I hated all the build up and flashbacks, as I felt that it did not add any value to the climax of the novel. It was days later that I realized that this was a reflection of how I disliked how long the novel had taken me to finish and not the novel itself. I do not have a vast vocabulary, and I was slowed down as a result. Though most people would try to hide this, I'd like to be open about it. That being said, I was still about to read at a decently brisk pace, 100 pages a day. The characters will stay with you long after you read this book, and now as I reflect over the plot of this novel, I am amazed by the mere creative capacity to imagine much a intricate setting with its workings, both inside and outside the Overlook. I did not particularly find The Shining frightening, but now I have started reading IT by Stephen King, and I have to put it down being of the impending moment of terror that any reader can anticipate. Whereas the Shining's merit is in its build up of its characters and its strict focus on their mindset as the hotel's spirits awaken.
It took a while to appreciate the vast imagination to create this novel. First off, King does not create a novel, he has created a separate plane of existence. The Overlook hotel described in all its inner workings to such a degree, that it is almost like the book provided you with a map of the location (which I am not a fan of). Kubrick's adaptation is not an adaptation, it is his own creation, borrowing only minor details from King's original. Kubrick created an incredibly terrifying movie. But King has created an equally suspenseful novel. In my opinion, a movie and book should be put in separate spheres, and be judged by different standards. Why should a movie try to replicate a book, the only thing that is capable of replicating the novel is a second copy of the novel. Instead, Kubrick did what a brilliant director would do, he adapted it, transformed it, into an entirely new creation. One with different plot points, with a different ending, but one that is a good movie by the standards that movies are measured by.


  1. Glad you enjoyed King's The Shining. I loved it myself! Do you plan on reading the sequel, Doctor Sleep, after you read It?

  2. I will definitely read Doctor Sleep eventually, I wish to first complete IT, Misery, Different Seasons, and maybe The Stand before I do though.