Kira's Reviews > The Shining

The Shining by Stephen King
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Sep 20, 11

bookshelves: i-hate-that-i-love-you, lolwut, not-amazing-but-not-shit, so-boring-i-ate-my-own-face
Recommended to Kira by: A valiant King fan
Recommended for: Valiant King fans
I own a copy, read count: 1

One of the few good things my father ever bothered to give me was an interest in Stephen King. Trufax.

Look, I'm a YA girl. I read juvenile crap, and then I tear it apart afterwards, and that's good for me. But every so often, wading through a miasma of commercialized garbage gets a little tough on the ol' thinker, and you have to pick up a real book and do some real reading.

This book is a classic for me, more than Things Fall Apart or Wuthering Heights or other such poorly written, overpraised crap. So far, this is my favourite King work; it's edgy, scary and fabulously written, and although the characters can be really mind-numbingly stupid at times, the suspense makes up for it. Seriously. I read this sitting on the kitchen floor with a systolic of 160 and a pair of scalloped Crayola scissors in my hand, poised to kill.

I'm ready for you, bitches!

As I said, this book is not perfect. Wendy is your average Scary Story douchefart, in that she's the kind of idiot who'll see a madman wielding an axe and think, "Maybe if I walk toward him, he'll put his weapon down on the ground peacefully, and all this will have been a misunderstanding".

Wendy, honey. Come on, now. If there was ever any semblance of a brain in your head, you would have staggered away from your creepy psycho husband before either of you laid eyes on the Overlook. He was already a fucking nut-job, and you knew it. Let's be real here.

Characters aside, I love the supernatural element here. It's dark, unique and perfect in evoking the claustrophobia of the hotel. The horror could have been incredibly cheesy and been-there-done-that, but I say it's unique because King never falls into the Out Pops Ghost, Scream And Run Away trap. Yes, there are jolts and shocks, but they're carefully crafted and the reactions entirely human. There are no ridiculous heroics or cheesy ominous ghostly moans or any of that trite nonsense. It's stiff, eerie and present, and this constant atmosphere hangs over the whole thing, so much so that the book itself, the cover and the pages, start to feel wrong in your hands. Eventually the stickiness and fear bleeds into your life and you become part of the story; you're there, you're haunted. It's horrifying and exhilarating.

I do have a bit of an issue with pacing. I'll admit that. I want this book to be perfect; it has the potential to be so amazing and mind-blowing, and in some respects it it, but the pacing just spoils that a little. At the beginning, you're bogged down with reams and reams and reams of backstory, and you wonder if you're ever going to get to the meat. A good hundred pages, maybe even more, could have been sliced off this book, and it would not have suffered. A more brutal editing job would have done this book the world of good. I'm sad for the Goodreads rating, and I know that it's under four largely because of the dreadful rambling narrative of the story. King is a fabulous story-teller, but he tends to overwork his writing and this disengages the reader. There's nothing worse than loving the premise and knowing that the story is good, but cracking open the cover only to find yourself staring down a bottomless pit of repetitive prose. It ruins the experience. Don't get me wrong; King's writing is excellent. But it takes a long time to realize this. It's as if he starts off a manuscript without much enthusiasm, and gradually grows to care enough to pack energy and flair into his writing.

Sadly, the attitude of the reader can emulate this.

By the time you reach the pulse-pounding finishing-post, you're breathless and terrified. That's the essence of horror; it should stir within you that same paranoia and terror as the characters on the pages. The Shining accomplishes this. Yes, it takes a while, but it gets there. It does.

I'd advise other readers to heed the "stick at it" advice. I'm assuming many people gave up due to the slow start, and I don't blame them. I was close. This could have been one star. But then I decided to stick to my guns and keep a-truckin'. It paid off. Seriously.

So don't give up. Keep going, skim if you have to. Just stand your ground and don't let this book beat you. You'll be glad you worked for it when you're haring toward that tantalizing ending.

Oy vie, Stephen! My relationship with thee is so love/hate. If ever I am to meet thee, in thine fleshy glory, I shall not know quite what to do with myself.


Bonus Time!

...because without bonus time, dogs would meow.

Slick back your hair, paint fake blood on your forehead, put on a tux and practice some ominous ghost noises. Wait in the washroom of your school/library/workplace, and see how many people you can talk into killing their families. Tell them, in a high-class English accent, that their children are too willful. Document the number of people who actually listen to you*, then blog it and revel in the fact that when you're a ghost, sometime far in the future, you'll be successfully ominous. Congratulations.

*If anybody does listen to you, maybe think about calling the police.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Lissa (new)

Lissa You think Wuthering Heights is poorly written and overly praised?

*bursts into tears*

Taneika (Flipping Through The Pages...) About 3 or 4 years ago, Mr. King was less than a kilometre than my home, broken down, in a country town in Australia and noone knew until the next day and Mum and I just about died of sadness! Haha, oh how I love Stephen King!

Italianflute I love reading your reviews after I've read the book (although I realize that is not quite the point of goodreads). Nevertheless, it's amazing how spot-on all of your reviews always are. My thoughts and yours are one in the same.

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