Recently, I decided it was good timing to return to an oldie but goodie author that I read quite a bit of while in high school, and some in between my summer years of college. That author is Stephen King. My memory may be a little shoddy in this regard, but I believe the last Stephen King book I read was The Green Mile, which I enjoyed immensely. For some reason, a couple of weeks ago, while I was at the library picking up Puzo’s The Godfather, I thought I might want to read something that simply would scare/freak me out. At which point, I immediately headed over to the K’s in the fiction section and began looking at what Stephen King novels this particular branch of our library system carried. Lo and behold, my eyes came across a copy of The Shining.
Now, when my eye came across The Shining, I realized I had never read it, nor had I seen the movie. I know, shocking and probably rather difficult to believe, but it’s true. I thought, since I was there picking up my brother’s selection for our reading group, The Godfather, I’d go ahead and get my brother and sister to read The Shining with me.
The Shining originally published in 1977, is King’s third book. It is about the Torrence family, Jack, Wendy, and Danny, and how Jack was hired to be the overseer of the Overlook Hotel during the winter months when the roads in that part of Colorado are too treacherous to navigate, and hence, no guests will be staying at the hotel.
Jack is a man with a troubled past. He is a recently fired teacher because he physically assaulted one of the students at his private school. He’s also a reformed alcoholic. He had a significant drinking problem which was contributing to the problems with his home life, including Wendy seriously contemplating divorce. Wendy is Jack’s wife, a loving mother to Danny. Finally, Danny is their only son, who seems to have a special gift called “The Shining.”
This gift of the shining allows Danny to see/hear thoughts of others close to him, most notably his parents. He has been able to detect his parents arguing, and is really quite afraid that his parents are going to divorce, as he seems to be quite close to his father.
The Overlook Hotel has a haunted past. It has changed owners several times, and many many people have died there. For some reason, these events have caused the hotel to be cursed/haunted. I’m not sure which word accurately describes what has happened with the Overlook. The demons that reside at the Overlook begin working to tear the Torrence family apart, by attacking its weakest link.
I must say, The Shining really spooked me out. I haven’t been this spooked out while reading a book in a very long time. I also definitely don’t get how the Overlook is haunted and why it attacked the Torrence family as it did. The backdrop of the hotel also really freaked me out. King really did a great job with describing the surroundings to make it as spooky as possible, and added in for good measure, that once the Torrence family was snowed in, it was very difficult for them to get any outside help.
Overall, I definitely got what I expected with reading The Shining, a spooky/freaky story to tickle the side of my brain that likes a good horror story. I’m glad I read the book before I watch the movie, which I’ll be getting from Netflix soon enough. If you’ve read The Shining, I’d definitely love to hear what you thought!