Feb 292012

Stephen King

Pages: 447

Publisher: Signet

Release Date: January 1977

Genre: Horror


Danny Torrance- 5 year old boy with psychic powers

Jack Torrance- Danny’s dad, a writer and recovering alcholic.

Wendy Torrance- Danny’s mom, she is somewhat clueless.

Dick Hallorann- Head Cook of Overlook Hotel, also has psychic powers.

Overlook Hotel- Very Haunted hotel.  Many people died here and each new death makes it stronger.

Lloyd- Ghost Bartender

Grady-Former caretaker, killed family and then self.

Synopsis: Struggling writer Jack Torrance takes a caretaker job at a historical hotel, the Overlook, in  Colorado mountains over the winter.  He brings his wife, Wendy, and 5 year old son, Danny.  His son is a very powerful psychic, and in the novel his power is called the shine, or the shining.  Most people don’t notice anything strange about the Overlook hotel, but Danny’s power wakes up something evil and and the family must fight for its life.

Pro: I think that most people are familiar with the classic Stanley Kubrick film based on the book.  In fact, I watched the movie long before I read the book.   They are two very different animals and enjoyable for different reasons.

  • Jack Nicholson as Jack in the film is at a 8 out of 10 level of crazy. In the book, Jack slowly goes crazy but never loses his marbles like Nicholson does.
  • In the book Wendy is not as whiny and freaked out all the time.
  • Even though Scatman  Crothers was good as Dick Hallorann, the character has more depth in the book and he has a more active role.
  • The hag scene is twice as scary in the book.
  • The  topiary animals and the playground are very freaky.
  • The climax is very vivid and would be perfect for a true to story remake with modern special effects and a big budget.

Con: Stephen King’s early writing style is better than the stuff he cranks out these days.  I think it was possibly all of the drugs and not having all of the practice at doing the same thing over and over again.  One thing that bugs me from this era is the the language is often too cute when dealing with kids.  For instance, between Jack and Wendy there are too many references to Danny as Doc.

Conclusion: This is one of Kings early novels, and he was at the top of his game.  Some have called him a hack but the language  is very tight and the imagery is vivid and there a quite a few scares to be had here!

Frank’s Ratings


Characters 4
Plot 3
Imagery 4
Read Again? 4
Average 3.75

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