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.
For many years now I had been hearing a lot of praise for Stephen King’s work. A little googling led me to The Shining.
What I liked:
- The language of the book is beautiful. The descriptions make it easy to build a mental picture of the Overlook, the snowed in Torrances in the hotel, the hedge animals, the shining, the climax, the ending, etc
- The ghoulish hedge animals be it the menacing lions or the rabbit which is supposed to be cute (but isn’t!)
- The ending. Though tragic, I liked it that Jack did not survive all of it in some miraculous way. Though I felt terrible for Danny losing his Daddy it was impossible for Jack to survive after the way the Hotel had screwed with his brains. And even if he had survived it would have been a miserable life.
- The tragedy that was Jack Torrance’s life & death. He genuinely believed that the new job at the Hotel would help him bond with his family. He believed he would complete his writing & would get a fresh start in his life. Unfortunately the Hotel put an end to all his dreams. It turned him into a monster & made him hurt the two people who were most dear to him.
- Wendy. She isn’t a strong character but that made her more real to me. She is like most women in the real world who take a whole lot of nonsense from their husband because they love them. She isn’t a go getter but when the time comes she survives a whole lot of pain & horror & emerges stronger.
- I hated Jack Torrance from start to finish. But this character provided a great insight into the sick mentality of abusers first with Jack being sometimes confused about his behaviour towards Danny & Wendy & then Jack sort of idolizing his abusive father.
What I didn’t like:
- Whatever reviews I read promised me a chilling suspense. They all said I would prefer putting the book away at night in order to sleep better. The book really did not scare me much. Not at all to be honest. Maybe I wouldn’t have felt any disappointment had I not read such reviews.
- I hated all the brackets in the text. You are reading a sentence (distracted due to this) & the author jumps (distracted again) to some other thread of thought which is damn irritating.
- On the last page is a small note where Stephen King says that a lot of people ask him about what happened to Danny post The Shining. He has written a sequel to answer these people. Unfortunately it follows the predictable ‘like father, like son’ story line. So I am out.
A 2.5/5 for the book. I might read Stephen King again. I might not. The Shining was definitely not a great introduction to a new (for me) author for me.