Title: The Shining
Author: Stephen King
Page Count/Review Word Count: 416
You remember that scene in Friends, where Joey is so scared of The Shining that he hid it in the freezer? I’m not entirely sure what scared him so much. It’s suspenseful, for sure, but that also means that there are long periods in which nothing much seems to happen. I was left with the feeling that big chunks of it could be removed without a problem, leaving it as a better book – then again, I guess that’s kind of what they did with the film.
There are a few things in the book that don’t get a mention in the movie, and there are also a few subtle differences including a strikingly different ending – unfortunately, though, I still prefer the movie, and I’m not exactly a massive fan of it. I just enjoy it as much as the next person.
The problem is, I can’t put my finger on what the problem is – there’s nothing inherently wrong with the story or with King’s writing, I just didn’t really think the book lived up to the hype. Perhaps you’ll have a different point of view, but I regret reading this before any other Stephen King book because it put me off him. Then I tried The Green Mile a couple of years later and was instantly converted.
In fact, I much preferred The Shining’s sequel, Doctor Sleep, which follows the story of the now grown-up Danny. There was more menace behind that, perhaps because King had a long period of time between the two books with which to perfect his craft. That said, you’d still need to read the first book before reading the sequel if you wanted to get the most out of it. And I highly recommend reading the sequel, so I suppose you’re just going to have to grit your teeth and get ready to read it.
So if you still want to go ahead and read The Shining then do it, but prepare to bed yourself in for a couple of weeks because it’s a long old read, and not something that you can just casually approach. If you don’t psyche yourself up for it beforehand, you’ll probably give up a third of the way in and go off and read something else instead. If you’re wondering how I know, it’s because that’s exactly what I did when I first read it.