Books Magazine

(relatively) Recent Release Friday: The Shining Returns with Dan Torrence as Doctor Sleep

By Crossstitchyourheart @TMNienaber

16130549I remember my first run-in with Stephen King’s The Shining.  I was in middle school.   I think it was during the summer.  I was at the library.  I spent a lot of time in the mystery section but had never yet made it to the horror section.  Then I saw a copy of The Shining.  The cover was plain red.  Nothing about screamed the plot.  It just looked good. So I picked it up only to have my mom grab it and put it back.  House rule # 1: no reading Stephen King until you’re 18.

So as a parent obeying good kid what did I do?  Found a giant book to hide The Shining in, checked it out when mom wasn’t looking (sorry…) and read the whole thing that night before anyone knew.

And that was the night my life changed.

So you can imagine when King came out with a sequel (now that I’m over 18 and could buy a copy at the bookstore like a normal person) there was a lot riding on this book.  I expected to be disappointed.  And I was.  There is nothing that could top the original.  But expecting anything to come even close really isn’t fair.  So, for those of you with similar Shining experiences, I urge you to read the acknowledgments section before the rest of the book (you know, that section in the back of the book you usually skip) because hearing King talk about doing this book really put me in the right mindset to read it.  Unfortunately I didn’t read it until after I finished the book.  Oh well…

Danny boy has inherited one of his father’s traits.  And after reaching bottom it’s time for Dan to man up and join AA.  While starting a new life for himself Dan realizes, even though his shining has dimmed, he still has a gift, and he works hospice helping people get ready for the end.  It’s during these late nights Dan first meets Abra, a girl with a shining as strong as his when he was at the Overlook.  Except its not the hotel that wants Abra, its a group called the True Knot, who feed off of that shining “steam” to live forever.  They’re starving and Abra might have an unlimited supply.  Dan and Abra join forces to fight them and it leads Dan back to places he’d thought he finally managed to lock away forever.

Seeing those old characters again was a good feeling, knowing that Dan was stronger than his father and able to make a life for himself without letting his gift be the end of him was like letting out a held breath I’d been holding since I was back in middle school.  However, the plot itself just took me a while to get warmed up to.  I would’ve liked to see a lot more backstory on the True Knot, they sound cool but their story never really seemed to be explained .  They were there because they had to be.  And then it took me about 300 pages into the book before I finally felt like the story was starting.  The old Shining stride wasn’t hit until over half-way through the book.  I almost gave up.

One you do manage to make it to the meat of the story you won’t be disappointed.  The action picks up, the emotions begin, and you won’t be able to put it down.

You don’t need any knowledge of The Shining to enjoy this book, maybe, for those of you still looking for your life changing book, this will be it.  For those of you looking for the next chapter of a classic, read the acknowledgments first.

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