In the near future, when America has become a police state, 100 boys are selected to enter an annual contest where the winner will be awarded whatever he wants for the rest of his life. Among them is 16-year-old Ray Garraty, and he knows the rules – keep a steady walking pace of four miles per hour without stopping. Three warnings and you’re out – permanently.
In an attempt to make my way through more of Stephen King’s books, I came across The Long Walk‘s blurb and decided it was a must-read. I loved the concept – reminiscent of The Hunger Games, though I should say The Hunger Games is reminiscent of this since it was written first. Human nature loves the macabre, though we pretend to rise above our baser instincts. This Lord of the Flies-esque novel grabbed my attention mainly for the resolution – I wanted to know how the walk ended and who stood victorious. It could have played out in many ways and I had several predictions.
I enjoyed the matter-of-fact writing as King took on his Bachman alter-ego. I truly felt the breakdown of the characters’ bodies as they suffered through this arduous trek. Some of the things they endured were utterly inconceivable, yet somehow, entirely realistic.
Unfortunately, despite the concept and the pragmatic writing style, I didn’t enjoy much else about this book. I found the characters to be bland, which led to a complete detachment for me as a reader. I also couldn’t seem to wrap my brain around the vulgar writing. The characters were constantly fantasizing about their sexual desires, which seemed entirely misplaced. After extreme exertion to the point of near-death, very few people would be greedily ready to get it on. It was absurd and annoying. Clearly, King was sexually frustrated while writing this novel.
The worst part about this book and the reason for my low rating is entirely due to the ridiculous ending! This was the whole point of listening to this story for me. I didn’t care about the journey as much as I cared about the destination and victor. After listening to this audiobook for days, the abrupt ending was a complete letdown and an injustice to the story. It obviously could imply certain things, but I needed something more cut and dry from this book. I didn’t hate the story, but I was obviously disappointed and expected better.
Rating: 2 stars