Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.
The Shining was the one book I specifically wanted to read for my Beat the Backlist Challenge in October. For years, I have been torn between wanting to read this book and feeling like I’d never be able to finish a famous Stephen King horror novel. Nonetheless, this book has been in the back of mind since 2008 when I first visited The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. The gift shop boasts plenty of memorabilia from The Shining since it is the location that inspired Stephen King to write the novel when he visited in the 70s.
The last time I visited The Stanley, I was even able to peek inside Room 217 while the housekeepers were cleaning it with the door open. I decided this year was finally time to make the book a priority and see what the fuss was all about. I should add, prior to reading I hadn’t seen the movie or even read the blurb for the novel. I didn’t know much of anything about the story, except for the genre and setting.
When I started reading, I was surprised to find how much I was enjoying the story. It wasn’t scary and actually felt kind of cozy, as weird as that might sound. The idea of having an entire hotel to oneself for a Colorado winter was actually quite appealing, especially with the image of The Stanley Hotel in my mind. I would say the majority of the novel felt ominous, rather than frightening. There were a few moments of that sick-to-my-stomach feeling of fear, but it was nothing like I had anticipated. This makes me excited because I think I could handle reading more of Stephen King’s books that I thought!
Overall, I genuinely enjoyed the writing in the story, the fact that this book was written in the 70s – allowing me to go back to that time, the setting, and the feel of madness throughout the book. I love stories where buildings feel as if they’re living, breathing things and The Shining was the epitome of that! I also enjoyed the meaning of “shining”, and the connection it allowed Danny and Dick Halloran to have. I couldn’t wait to see what Danny would discover next! The ending was slightly disturbing, but it makes me anxious to check out Doctor Sleep in the future. I’d like to see what becomes of Danny as an adult.
I’m proud of myself for finishing (and enjoying) this modern classic and even ventured to watch the movie after reading since I wasn’t as frightened as I expected to be. After watching, I can see why Stephen King didn’t like the movie adaption. All of the iconic movie scenes weren’t even in the book! Though there were moments that were word-for-word from the novel, there were some crucial moments that were completely different, including the entire ending. As always, the book was considerably better!
Rating: 4 stars