Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Shining by Stephen King

"Sometimes human places create inhuman monsters."

In this horror novel, Jack Torrance and his family find themselves in more than they bargained for at the Overlook Hotel.  Jack is a recovering alcoholic dealing with anger issues and hopes to find a new start. When he is hired as the Overlook’s off-season caretaker, he brings a long his wife Wendy and five-year-old son Danny.  He is warned that a previous caretaker went crazy in the hotel and killed his wife and two daughters, but Jack dismissed the thought and feels that spending the winter in an isolated hotel is just what his family needs.  Since he was a young boy, Danny has possessed the ability to read people’s minds and is visited by warned of the dangers of the hotel.

As the winter approaches, Danny begins to see the supernatural power that the hotel posses.  At first his parents don’t believe him, but soon they start seeing and hearing things as well.  There is a dead woman in a bathtub, the topiary animals come to life, and there is a masking party in the ballroom.  Jack also discovers a scrapbook in the attic and learns more about the hotel’s haunted past.  His struggle with his writing and pressure from his family leads to cabin fever at the Overlook slowly takes over Jack’s mind.  Eventually, the ghost of the previous caretaker convinces him to kill his wife and son.  After a long battle, Wendy and Danny escape with the help of Dick, the hotel’s cook who comes to the rescue when he receives a telepathic message from Danny.  Jack regains control, but is killed when the hotel’s boiler explodes.

I normally don’t read horror novels, but I really enjoyed reading Stephen King’s book 11/22/63 and thought I would give this one a try because of the recommendation in Genreflecting.  Even though I didn’t necessarily like all of the horror elements, I found the story fascinating.  It was very fast-paced and left me quickly wanting to turn the page to find out what was going to happen.  I also really enjoyed the writing style and loved how the author was able to bring the reader into the minds of the characters.

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