Jane Stewart's Reviews > The Stand

The Stand by Stephen King
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's review
Aug 10, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: apocalyptic-paranormal-fiction, 5-star-other
Read in August, 2012

I enjoyed being part of this group of characters.

The story begins with a virus killing 99% of the population. We meet several survivors in separate towns. They stay in town a while, then begin traveling on motorcycles, bicycles, or walking. The travelers start out alone or with one other person. Along the way they join with others. A man called Randall Flagg is creating his own empire, dictator style, with evil intentions. His headquarters are in Las Vegas, Nevada. Survivors with criminal tendencies are drawn toward Flagg. Good folks are drawn to Boulder, Colorado, where they form a community called the Free Zone.

Before I read any Stephen King, I thought most of his books would be about monsters, horror, screaming, slashing - things in horror movies. I was wrong. I’m finding a lot of depth and interesting character development. His bad guys are not all that different from some of the serial killers in mainstream crime fiction and thrillers.

The Stand has some paranormal, not a lot. Several characters have psychic dreams or a psychic sense at times. The Stand is one of Stephen’s longest books. The paperback is 1439 pages. I was never bored. I became attached to the characters. In the preface Stephen says “When I speak (which is as rarely as possible), people always speak to me about The Stand. They discuss the characters as though they were living people, and ask frequently, “What happened to so-and-so?”... as if I got letters from them every now and again.” Personally I feel that way. I’d like to think about the characters in the future.

Stephen makes everyday conversations interesting. There are many characters in this book, but it didn’t feel like too many. We are with a guy in Arkansas for 25 pages, then a guy in New York for 12 pages, then a woman in Maine for 11 pages. I like a linear time line and I like scenes with natural endings. And most of the time the scenes met these requirements. My biggest problem with Stephen’s book “It” was stopping scenes in the middle of action and jumping around in time. I’m pleased to see the author used “better methods” in this book.

This is a post apocalyptic world. By the end of the book some of the good guys die, but others have happy endings. Normally I would avoid books with this setup because I don’t want to be depressed. Other authors might tell this story with deep digging into grief and loss. This book was not done that way. I was pleased that I was not depressed.

I was pleased to see a romance. A couple meets, they eventually get together, and have a happy ending. For those whose don’t like abusive husbands, you’ll like this. This is the way guys should be. He cares for her happiness.

There is a homosexual rape scene in detail. Also there is a telling (after the fact) of women held against their will and repeatedly raped.

This is the expanded edition published in 1990. Much was cut for the 1978 edition. Stephen added back cut parts and a lot of new writing for the 1990 edition. I would not want to read the cut version.

I had a few questions that were not answered, such as why Flagg was losing his powers, and what was the purpose of the pregnancy. Also I did not like Flagg’s ending. I wanted something worse to happen to him.

The narrator Grover Gardner did an excellent job.

Narrative mode: 3rd person. Unabridged audiobook reading time: 47 hrs and 52 mins. Swearing language: strong, including religious swear words and racial slurs. Sexual language: moderate to strong. Number of sex scenes: about 14, most briefly described. Setting 1990 - 1991 various U.S. locations. Book copyright 1978 and 1990. Genre: apocalyptic paranormal fiction. Ending: happy for many of the good guys, bad for most of the bad guys.

For a list of my reviews of other Stephen King books, see my 5 star review of Carrie.
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02/07 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Chris (new)

Chris Weppler This is one of my favorite Stephen King tales. I, too, became very attached to the characters in the course of reading the novel and was saddened by the passage of some within its' pages, especially the ones I wouldn't have even IMAGINED would die. Overall, I'd have to say if you want to start reading Stephen King, save THE STAND for a while after you've read some of his many other works. I say this because then you'll only appreciate reading it that much more.

Jane Stewart Thanks for your comment Chris. I'm planning to read more of King, but I'm a little nervous about which ones. Are there any that you did not like?

Mixedbagreader I loved this review. I too really enjoyed and connected with The Stand (I even own the 8 hour mini-series on DVD and have watched it multiple times - great casting). You might also want to try "The Dark Half" and "Needful Things" (note: Needful Things is very violent but I believe there's a small love story subplot and it's just fun because it's peppered with many references to characters from many of his other books). One thing that I really love about King is that I feel like he truly captures the flavor of the 70's and 80's in his novels. They are so much *of* that time period, it's like looking into a time capsule.

Jane Stewart Thank you Mixedbag. And I especially appreciate your recommendations. I just bought them. Stephen has sooo many books, I need help choosing. One thing surprising to me is the variety of genres he writes in. Before I read any of his books, I thought everything he did would be supernatural, scary, and horror. But it’s not. I’m enjoying doing a collection of him.

Ethan If your interested in Flagg give the dark tower a try some time. Its my favorite series and arguably Kings best work. Great review by the way.

Jane Stewart I'm in the middle of the Dark Tower series right now. Thanks Ethan :)

Ethan Aw thats awesome. My bud told me to read them earlier this year. They were my first king books I've read about 15 king books now but i wish I would have read some of his other work before i read the dark tower. Aside the dark tower and the stand you should read firestarter. I loved that one.

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