The Shining

The Shining (The Shining #1)The Shining by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mr. Raspa’s seventh grade English class stands out for several reasons. The film we watched caught on fire. He introduced me to the meaning of Elton John’s “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”. He sent me to the principal’s office for showing him up in class. And I recall that he read both The Hobbit and The Shining that year.

A few years later, Jack Nicholson and Stanley Kubrick retold the story on film. I am not certain I ever saw the movie from beginning to end. I have vague remembrances of a couple scenes.

Once upon a time I was into reading Stephen King. The Shining, however, never found its way into my hands. I think it’s because I thought I knew the story.

Advance forward a couple decades. My wife, too, was a King fan. She had many of his books, albeit, the more recent when I met her. A little while ago she wanted Doctor Sleep. She announced it was the sequel to The Shining. I am an all-digital book guy these days. When I purchased the sequel I also purchased the original thinking I would eventually get to it. Eventually finally arrived.

I am down to the last handful of books in my list to read. I wanted to clear the couple Stephen King books before I finished off the Bond series.


King sure does know how to tell a story. This is roughly 450 pages. It was compelling and kept me on my Kindle throughout. The first 8% of the book took me a week; the last 92% I read in a long 24-hour period. It was that good.

So, I guess I had a vague idea of the story. But the backsory was unknown to me and that provided much context for why Jack was like he was. He was a sympathetic character. I read how King came to write this; it is somewhat autobiographical. I found that interesting.

While a horror story, there are also insights to fatherhood here. The guilt Jack felt for his failings was real.

It was interesting how the hotel took control. It wasn’t Jack just going mad, it was the hotel wielding its influence that truly inspired the action.

Truly, I enjoyed this as whatever I knew from seeing however much of the film (quite long ago) was lacking the richness I got from reading the whole tale.

Four hundred fifty pages is a long read for me; I prefer shorter stories. Of course, I have loaded up the sequel onto the Kindle. At 545 pages, I sure hope it is as compelling as its original.

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