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Book Review – The Shining by Stephen King

As part of my research for Hope in Blackshaw Moor, which is a Romance-Thriller, I decided to do a little light reading… and dived into Stephen King’s 1977 The Shining!

I am not a fan of horror or anything bloody or gory, so I planned to ‘skim-read’ through and just get a feel for the book opposed to a concentrated read.  Well best laid plans and all that don’t always go as imagined and I ended up reading the whole book from front to cover.

I was pleasantly surprised for the Shining book is a lot meatier than the film.  I confess to seeing the film in my early twenties before I firmly made up my mind to steer clear of horror.  The film had my pulse racing until quite frankly I felt sick.  It was one of three films that put me off horror for life.  As the film was released in 1980 I should imagine that most horror fans of today would find it laughably tame, such is the fall of our innocence.

Without the dramatic, pulsating boom of background music that allows you to prepare for the frightening stuff in a film, the book was far more enjoyable.  Firstly, not picked up in the film (obviously in an hour and a half there is only so much story you can portray) is the fact that this book’s main character actually isn’t (honey I’m home) Jack, it’s his son Danny.  Btw ‘honey I’m home’ doesn’t feature in the book.  Danny has the Shining, a seventh-sense that gives him glimmers of the future.  The story dives into depth about the relationship between Danny and his father, that alcoholic, bad-tempered man who broke his arm, yet who he idolizes and loves as any son loves his father.  Stephen King takes his time building the characters of this family, making all three of them very real, which ultimately becomes the true psychological horror of the story.  For how can a loving father turn into a man who wants to slaughter his wife and son?  Is it the ghosts that roam through Overlook Hotel or is it the hotel itself that’s haunted… or could it possibly be the horror that resides inside a person is released in the right (or should we say wrong) circumstances?  Danny sees it all happen way before it actually occurs, yet clings to the fact that he knows his father loves him and would never hurt him, right until the end, and that is impetus behind this well told story.

What I didn’t like, (remember it was written in 1977) is that thoughts are inserted mid-sentence, throwing you off balance and making you re-read to fully understand.

What I loved, the love that Danny held for his father despite everything, and the ending, which is much, much better than the film.

This book is so old that if you fancy reading it you probably know someone who has it on their bookshelf gathering dust so you could borrow a copy.  Or charity shops are bound to hold several dozen copies of it.  However, if you’re a kindle fan here is the link below to Amazon.

Review warning: Before you rush off and buy any book that someone reviews you should read the free sample chapters provided on Amazon, this way you can decide for yourself if this book is your cup of tea or not.  Happy reading everyone!