The Shining – Stephen King.
Until now I have never read a Stephen King novel, now, now I think I might be hooked and I kind of want to read them all. I was hoping that I could drag this out over Halloween but it was just so damn good that I couldn’t put it down and ended up finishing too early. Darn it.
Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control.
As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in Room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?
Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel – and that too had begun to shine…
I already knew the story of this having seen the film many a time over the years. My ex flat mate had an original print of the movie poster (and a huge crush on Jack Nicholson) so it was a firm favourite in our flat. I think, because I already knew what was going to happen and when, I wasn’t flat out terrified of this book, but it was certainly creepy enough to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end on more than one occasion.
For those of you that have seen the film, you will probably know that Stephen King doesn’t think that much of it. You’ll probably also know that it’s hugely misogynistic when it comes to how Wendy is portrayed and that the main star of the film is Jack Torrance, his temper and his decent into madness. The book shows Wendy as being a kick ass heroine who is more than capable of handling her drunk husband and herself. She beats him about the head and locks him in a pantry in the book for heaven’s sake. There is no weak, screaming woman cowering behind a door in this book. Also, the book focus is much more on young Danny and his psychic abilities. There also is very little mention of creepy sort of twin girls that roam the halls, although, the mouldy woman from 217 still exists.
This book was delightfully creepy, and I think because I knew the story so well, it was the perfect starting point for a future career in reading Stephen King novels. It seems wrong to give it a seal of approval when it is so dark and the seal is so well… bright, but it’s getting one anyway.