Jessica's Reviews > The Stand

The Stand by Stephen King
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Oct 21, 07

bookshelves: happyendings
Recommended for: hypochondriacal jersey commuters

I read this book ages ago, but it's fresh in my mind every time I wind up stuck in traffic underneath the Hudson.

It's about almost everyone in the world basically catching a bad case of the Plague and dropping dead. This premise doesn't seem very far-fetched, which could make it either more or less entertaining, depending on your temperment.

Here's my opinion about good old Stevie King: he's got a real problem with endings. He'll spin these long, terrific stories, but way too often they're all based in suspense, and he lures you to page 600 or whatever, and leaves you high and dry. I read the first half of _It_ in sixth grade and had to stop, as the book had completely deprived me of my ablity to sleep. Two years later, I'd finally recovered enough to brave It again, and the ending was so stupid that I sorely wished I'd saved myself months of clown-terror wakefulness by finishing it the first time. I mean, don't get me wrong, the guy can write. But he almost invariably writes himself into a corner, and his endings are a let-down.

The great thing about The Stand, to me, is that King a. demonstrates that he's aware of this problem and b. uses his weakness jujitsu style, combined with wish-fulfillment, to great effect. You can just see him crouched at his typewriter, chewing on something and grumbling, "Christ, what's my problem..... These goddamn endings.... I just need a deus ex machina."

I liked the Stand. The Stand's good stuff. It's not one of the scary ones (well, it's scary in a different way than, say, The Shining), and in addition to having an ending I appreciate, it also gets pretty silly, but still: Recommended. Yep.

A-choo!
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Comments (showing 1-28 of 28) (28 new)

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message 1: by Samantha (new)

Samantha Lately I've been really into crime/suspense novels. I read a couple Chandler books, but they didn't quite do it for me. I like Kate Atkinson for a light read. I've started and put down a few other mystery-types. It's hard to find a well written novel in this genre, no? I'm reading Ellroy's _My Dark Places_ at the moment... no comment yet. Let me know if you have any other recommendations.


message 2: by matthew (new)

matthew the world's gone mad. stephen king SUCKS (and i had to go and read the extended version of "the stand", lest i, y'know, miss the good parts), and raymond chandler is a GOD. oddly enough, king's short stories are better and chandler's are worse.


Jessica I absolutely love, love *loved* Bangkok 8, reviewed on here. I'd recommend that to pretty much anyone looking for the kind of read I think you're describing. I know this contradicts what I said above, but on further reflection I don't necessarily recommend reading The Stand, unless you are around fifteen years old, and pretty bored. I enjoyed it a lot then, but I might not as much now. I don't really know.

Matthew, Stephen King does NOT suck. Stephen King is a terrific writer! Why on earth would you read such a long book by an author you say you don't like? Probably because SK is such an engaging storyteller that you simply could not resist his allure.

Honestly, Sammy, I don't really read much crime these days. Don't read horror anymore, at all. Come to think of it, I don't really read much of anything!

(Sigh....)


Jessica Good call. I've added that book to my list.

You know, Thinner had a real ending. I'm not saying it was spectacular or anything, but it had one. I can't think of any others off the top of my head, though I'm sure there are some.


message 5: by matthew (new)

matthew no, i read it because it had a really good cover, i was bored, and, at the time, when i began a book i finished it, no matter how bad (i'm also excited by the idea of a humanity-destroying illness) - now, i know better. stephen king is a hack who may as well be writing for the cheaper/younger division of scholastic, or, better, not at all, as i heard he was, in fact, doing.


message 6: by Ariel (new)

Ariel I love Steven King, but agree that his endings are disappointing. Misery is my favorite, I loved pretty much every line UNTIL THE END. Then I was like, what on earth are you talking about? A skunk in a shopping cart - nonsense. And The Shining just turns into a rainbow.

The Body is good as a complete work - though it's muddled in my mind with "Stand By Me" so maybe that's working in it's favor.





message 7: by Samantha (last edited Oct 23, 2007 06:36PM) (new)

Samantha Not interested in horror, sci-fi/fantasy, or graphic violence. It's the mystery and suspense that I like.

I finally finished _Kiss of the Spiderwoman_, by the way, and it was awesome. The form is so unusual and suprisingly effective. Who would have thought you could write a whole novel through one character describing movies to another character? It's a intimate story, really weird and really good.


message 8: by Rachel (last edited Oct 24, 2007 08:09AM) (new)

Rachel I have heard good things about Dorothy Sayers's mysteries, though I've never read any of them. I myself enjoy Carl Hiaasen's Florida thrillers.


message 9: by matthew (new)

matthew yeah, dorothy sayers is good light drawing room mystery, with an intellectual... lilt, i'm gonna say. i wouldn't call them suspenseful, though. i hear good things about iain banks (as iain M banks, he writes science fiction, so be careful, you hatas!), but i'm too frightened to read 'im. it could be graphic, but, as i understand it, it's excellent psychological suspense.


message 10: by matthew (new)

matthew you seem to have really specific tastes, by the by.


message 11: by Samantha (new)

Samantha Thanks for all those ideas!


message 12: by matthew (new)

matthew to whom do you tender thanks? (i almost went with "dost thou", so take that into consideration). i'm going to declare, here, that, when drunk, i shall append "*drunk*" to my entries. i could've said "whilst".

*drunk*

i think that fair.


Jessica Oh, I wish Elmore Leonard cared about the environment. I just can't get as excited about Hiaasan as I'd like to be. I mean, he's fine, but maybe not quite energetic enough? Or he doesn't do "gritty" as well, I don't know what it is.... To be fair, I haven't read much of his stuff. Maybe on my next vacation to Florida.

I went through a huge Elmore Leonard phase one summer, though I haven't had any interest in reading him since. What I remember is tasty, high-energy romance novels that men could read, with fantastic dialogue. I know everyone's sick of hearing about this guy's incredible ear, but it's a cliche because it's true.

Elmore Leonard = good times. I might not appreciate them much anymore, especially now that criminals don't seem nearly as glamrorous to me, but I'd recommend checking him out if you haven't.


message 14: by Rachel (new)

Rachel I loved loved loved Killshot. It was sooooooo exciting. Then when I tried to read another Leonard book, I couldn't get into it. I don't remember which it was. All I know is it kept referring to a woman's ass as her "fanny" or "can" and I just could not read it.

You didn't think _Skin Tight_ was good and gritty?


message 15: by matthew (new)

matthew 'it kept referring to a woman's ass as her "fanny" or "can"' - that would be insanely distracting.


Pattie Agree with you about King not being able to end his books - hell, in several, he just gives up and blows up everything, or sets the hotel on fire, as the case me be. My favorite of his novels is one of the shorter ones: The Dead Zone

I also think he could do with a tough editor - not someone who would change a word - just someone with a pair of scissors who would chop out huge chunks. Good luck with that though - There's an EXPANDED version of the stand out there - one with all the stuff that was cut (I can't even imagine) stuffed back in. (shudder)

King's short stories prove he's not a hack. I sometimes wonder: if King was judged only by his short stories, wouldn't his reputation be better? Think about Apt Pupil, The Body, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, and Riding the Bullet. Some of his short stories are throw-aways, but little horror gems: The Road Virus Rides North.


message 17: by matthew (new)

matthew that's the edition of "the stand" i was fool enough to read! i hate abridged books, but i steered myself wrong, on that one. it does have a cool cover, though. i did say his short stories were better than his novels.


Katherine That's crazy! I was reading this book on a family trip in 1985 and we got stuck in the Lincoln tunnel on our way out of the city. I got claustrophbic and had to stop reading until we were out. An hour. I know probably nothing to u, but I had only been into the city six times coming from Texas where we have no tunnels under rivers!


Vheissu I agree with you, Jessica. King's endings seldom live up to the story concept. "The Tommyknockers" and "Under the Dome" are perfect examples of your complaint. The one big exception to this, in my opinion, is "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon," which I think is one of King's very best books. I am shocked that it receives such a weak rating on this Board; I absolutely loved the ending and felt very satisfied by it.

While I am typically disappointed with King's endings, getting to the end is pure pleasure.


Jaime Lee I am new to this site and I really enjoy reading everyone's reviews. I am a huge SK fan and love talking about his work. I can't say I have read them all, I have 3 stand alone novels and the DT series left, but I will say I really like the way SK chooses to end his novels.

The ending of The Stand and Under the Dome are ones that you hear people bash quite often. I thought the end of Under the Dome was very thought provoking and the end of The Stand had a kind of calm to it.

The one perfect ending that SK wrote is the end of Pet Sematary and I can sum it up in one word...

"Darling"


Vheissu If you haven't already read them, I strongly recommend:

The Shining by Stephen King Stephen King by Stephen King

The Dead Zone by Stephen King Stephen King by Stephen King

and

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King Stephen King by Stephen King

I would also recommend with the proviso that one scene in the book is offensive and inappropriate:

It by Stephen King Stephen King by Stephen King


message 22: by Will (new) - rated it 3 stars

Will Stokeley You're bang on about the endings. A master writer certainly, but just not wrapped up in the best way. I think the shining did tie up pretty well though.


message 23: by Sue (new)

Sue Totally agree with you about "IT"..the ending sucked but the build up was a fantastic book. I love The Stand. total entertainment.


message 24: by Ken (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ken Evans Great review and your summary captures my sentiments on this story exactly. Thanks ;-)


Joseph N I know what you mean about thinking about it when going through the tunnels. I think about that all the time.


message 26: by Jerry (new) - added it

Jerry Pattie wrote: "Agree with you about King not being able to end his books - hell, in several, he just gives up and blows up everything, or sets the hotel on fire, as the case me be. My favorite of his novels is o..."

King is an excellent writer when he wants to be. But I suspects he is turning out too much as in the days when he did a lot of speed and pot. Those early druggie days saw some of his best work.


message 27: by Jerry (new) - added it

Jerry Samantha wrote: "Lately I've been really into crime/suspense novels. I read a couple Chandler books, but they didn't quite do it for me. I like Kate Atkinson for a light read. I've started and put down a few othe..."

You might try Ross MacDonald (the other MacDonald, John, is mighty fine, too) and Dashell Hammett.


message 28: by Jerry (new) - added it

Jerry Dashiell. I knew that didn't look right. He had one of the world's worst writer's blocks and didn't produce anything in his later years. Don't know if his marriage to Lillian Hellman had anything to do with that.


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