carol. 's Reviews > The Stand

The Stand by Stephen King
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bookshelves: end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it
Recommended for: King fans; apocalypse fans


Dear Stephen,

I'm sorry. I just don't like you in that way. I know we've been friends for a long time, but I just never developed those kind of feelings for you, even after eleven hundred pages. I feel like we only moved forward in fits and stops, and we were just never able to sustain a kind of even-handed development of the kind of chills and thrills a person really likes. Shock someone enough times with snot running out of their nose, and it just becomes a little meaningless. And there are only so many ways to view a dead body before one gets kind of numb instead of apprehensive. Using the journal device to move things forward seems a little crude, when what we really need to do is talk.

I have to confess, I've felt kind of uncomfortable watching you struggle with religion and spirituality. You sparked my interest when you posited that this might be the battle between the age of reason and that of "irrationalism," and the dark man was the last vestige of doomed rationalism. I thought for a few minutes we were headed somewhere really special, but you didn't seem very confident, and the theme fell apart.

I will say there were a few surprises along the way, which I found pleasant. I appreciate you avoiding the obvious character arcs, especially when it comes to redemption. I was glad to meet most of your friends, especially Joe/Leo, Stu and even Kojak. Your military friends bored me out, though, especially Starkey; I don't even get why you like spending any time with those guys. Such a bunch of fossils. I do have to say, I was really impressed with how you must have studied disease modelling and progression--I almost felt like was there.

Sometimes I get the feeling that you don't really see me as a person, just a baby-maker. You even have an extended soliloquy about it, as if I wasn't even here reading your words. It bothers me, because you took the time to develop nuanced male relationships (Larry, Stu, Lloyd), but the women were about reproducing or were cannon fodder. Since you allowed technology to remain, I'm not going to buy into your lowest most-functional society mentality, no matter how many sociological theories you throw at me. And then there's the elderly black woman as representation of all that's spiritual. Perhaps even Mother Earth? If I'm rolling my eyes, it's because it's another aspect of compartmentalizing women as either maiden, matron or crone, and people of color as closer to God(s)(being savage and all, as you so helpfully illustrate in your "The Circle Closes" afterward). Honestly, it's kind of juvenile, and a little disappointing when I know you are capable of so much more.

It's time for me to move on. I'm sure you'll find someone special eventually, Stephen, because you are such a really great guy. And so unusual, too.

With Three Stars,

Your Friend Always.

Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2013/0...

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Reading Progress

July 5, 2011 – Shelved
December 18, 2011 – Shelved as: end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it
December 20, 2011 – Started Reading
December 20, 2011 –
0.0% "forget all those other books I said I was reading. The Stand is the only one on my mind."
December 22, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 203 (203 new)


message 1: by mark (new)

mark monday love this


message 2: by carol. (last edited Dec 28, 2011 02:57PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

carol. Thank you, Mark. I think I was inspired by all the diary entries by one of the leads--maybe I should have done it in that format.


MrsJoseph *grouchy* I can't help but to snicker every time I read this review. :-D

And I liked the book.


message 4: by Trudi (last edited Mar 04, 2013 08:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Trudi Great stuff Carol. The Stand isn't one of my favorites either (and I felt almost obligated to round up to four stars, when it's really a 3.5 for me). I know a lot of King fans tout this as one of his masterpieces, but I think he's done much better elsewhere over the years (and there are at least 15 novels I would put before this one).

I also agree that it took him awhile to get the hang of writing convincing, three-dimensional women - Dolores Claiborne leading the pack, but I'm also a huge fan of Gerald's Game and (despite Annie Wilkes' homicidal tendencies) Misery.

I still want you to read The Long Walk!!!

Also, it's been awhile since I last read it, but are there zombies in The Stand? ;)


carol. Oh, Trudi--you are such a librarian! ;) I will blame my shelving on being distracted by the books in the shelf above, or slippery keys, or some mysterious hacker rearranging my bookshelves.

I couldn't help but wonder when I was reading if the abridged version was a bit better? I like the world-building in general, but the characters here just felt one-dimensional. If I was feeling charitable, I might say archtypical, but I'm not, so I won't. I probably would have liked it more when I was younger, before all that awareness of feminism ruined my life. ;)

And I do have Long Walk on my to-read-sooner list!


message 6: by Allie (new)

Allie Riley Wonderful review! I've still not attempted to read a Stephen King book (not a great fan of the genre, to be honest).


Karla Great review. This one was such a copout and the last in a string of bad luck with King. I gave up on him after this.


Maggie K lol Carol-it's funny on how much we agree on books! I didn't like this either, too convoluted. I was complaining about it to someone once and they suggested McCammon's Swan Song. Check it out if you haven't read it yet


message 9: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Koivu Good stuff, Carol!


carol. Thank you Allie and Karla. King was my first (and virtually only) writer to flirt with horror, a genre he does well. Or at least better than this.


carol. Maggie wrote: "lol Carol-it's funny on how much we agree on books! I didn't like this either, too convoluted. I was complaining about it to someone once and they suggested McCammon's Swan Song. Check it out if y..."

Maggie, I almost always add your 5-star books to my TBR list!


carol. Jason wrote: "Good stuff, Carol!"

Thanks, Jason.


message 13: by Forrest (new)

Forrest This is a thing of awkward beauty.


message 14: by James (new)

James Thane Poor Stephen...


Trudi Carol wrote: "Oh, Trudi--you are such a librarian! ;) ..."

Oh Jesus, aren't I though? ;)


carol. Forrest wrote: "This is a thing of awkward beauty."

Um. Speechless.


carol. James wrote: "Poor Stephen..."

Oh, he's so over it. He moved on to domineering, creepy leg-breaking women.


carol. Trudi wrote: "Carol wrote: "Oh, Trudi--you are such a librarian! ;) ..."

Oh Jesus, aren't I though? ;)"


It's okay. I like librarians. :) I'm admiring your attention to detail and organization.


Trudi Carol wrote: "It's okay. I like librarians. :) I'm admiring your attention to detail and organization."

That's such a nice way of putting it Carol, but I believe the DSM-IV refers to it as OCD :)

But I've made my peace with it. It's embedded on my DNA, I'm certain of it. Can't fight nature! But I promise it will come in handy when we take over the world! mwah-ha-ha


Tasha LOVE THIS. Bravo on one of the best reviews I've read! This put into words exactly how I felt about the Stand, especially the part about women. The one problem I had, that you didn't mention, was that SK seemed to write this with a thesaurus next to him. I consider myself to have a very wide vocabulary, and the number of words I had to look up (on my Kindle, so admittedly it was very easy) was incredibly annoying, and got to the point where it seemed insulting. Most of these words were words people would never use in conversation, and the characters in the book threw them out like they'd been saying them all their lives.


carol. Tasha, thank you! I was looking forward to it as one of the apocalypse canons but found myself extremely disappointed by ALL the women characters.

Now that you say it, I think I had to look up a few words as well. Really, kind of a "look at me! I'm a writer!" book.


carol. Rachel, I'm glad to hear you agree--there's such an enthusiastic audience for King, and he can write an interesting story, no doubt, but I'm not really impressed by his management of female characters. I certainly didn't feel guilty, just annoyed. ;)


Alejandro Thank you so much. I am 70% through it and I am so annoyed with so much of it. I just read Nadine's seduction of Harold and I was cringing throughout. Really? Real women talk like this? No. And Fran is such a stupid character. Idiotic.


carol. Thank you, Alejandro.


Natraj Chaturvedi perfect review for the book. The walking dude was such a dissapointment too. You shat your pants if you just saw his face in your dreams but then he turned out to be a retard loving dude who's going retard himself in the end. So foolish


Rocco Thompson I usually love King but your review hit every one of my gripes spot on. Especially the women. Frannie Goldsmith is THE WORST female character he's ever written. I was honestly hoping she was dead by the time Stu got back. Haha. I did like Dana, but OF COURSE she has it out for men because she's kind of a lesbian. Nadine was also pretty but a total waste ultimately. Just not the work of genius I expected.


Rocco Thompson **Nadine was pretty neat. Not just pretty lol.


message 28: by S. (new) - added it

S. Davis Great review. I read this back when I was around 13yrs and LOVED it. It was the first apocalypse-by-plague book I had read. So tragic and compelling! I do remember feeling the supernatural aspect of it being superfluous and a little ridiculous, but like you mentioned, I think the only reason I loved the book was because I was young.

I'm re-reading and having a hard time giving a rip about this book, now, at age 38. Boring and so UN-compelling!


carol. Thank you, Shanah. I haven't gone back and read many of my favorites form younger years because I'm a little afraid of having that same experience!


message 30: by Erik (new) - rated it 2 stars

Erik I have a vested interest in King (a very good friend adores him), and he's done some decent work. But The Stand has me bored out of my mind.

I really wish I understood why people consider this a masterpiece, so I could at least grapple with it. But it seems every five star review here offers either a plot summary or a bland "SK is grreeeeat!"


carol. My theory is fan-following, Erik. He has a very devoted base.


Elinor Walters You are spot on about King's female characters. This is something that's annoyed me in almost every book I've read by him, and one of the things that prevented The Stand from being the epic novel it could've been. Also, the cringey sex scenes. Like all a man has to do is look at a woman and she's coming on the spot. Nope!


carol. Thanks, Elinor.


message 34: by Mara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mara You captured so much of my resistance to fall gangbusters in love with this one- a lot of it having to do with the baby as the holy grail.


carol. Thank you, Mara! That means a lot from a King fan. I wonder if the abridged version is better? Which did you read?


message 36: by Mara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mara Carol. [All cynic, all the time] wrote: "Thank you, Mara! That means a lot from a King fan. I wonder if the abridged version is better? Which did you read?"

Unabridged, and I'm super curious about unabridged as well!


carol. now you have piqued my curiosity!


Nichole (DirrtyH) Thank you for this review, you found the words I didn't have the energy to search for. :)


carol. Thanks, Nicole. I empathize--sometimes it is hard to put my reaction into words.


message 40: by Veka (new) - rated it 3 stars

Veka Veks Awesome review.Maybe If I read your review earlier,I would give up on reading this book.But now it's too late.I'm on page 748 and I'm really struggling to read to end.I already gave 3 stars and I can't give more.


carol. Thanks, Veka. It's worth saying you've read it for the classic value, but I admit, I also skimmed toward the end when I had had my fill (and reading the Unabridged version didn't help).


message 42: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Ancillotti I REALLY enjoyed your review. It perfectly expresses the vague annoyance I was feeling regarding the sexist and racist tones of this book. I love Stephen King and I have loved this book since I read it in middle school. I recently decided to read it again and now that I'm in my 30's, I actually pick up on these things. I still enjoyed the book, but I was wondering why Frannie went from being a decently developed character to being shoved to the background once the committee of men convened, as well as numerous other examples. I realized that a lot of his books have the hysterical/anxious/nagging woman. I'm hoping it was due to the time it was written (does that make it better? No, I guess not.) Either way, this was great and put into words what I was trying to convey to my friends who weren't reading the book and thus, did not care.


carol. Thanks, Kristen. It's frustrating, isn't it, when you want to gripe about something and no one else knows what you are talking about. A good reason to join a book site, where at least other book people will understand!

That said, I agree, some of it is due to the time it was written--I think it is a reflection of what was a "normal" view. But I didn't read it way back to have a younger positive impression (during the days when I had underdeveloped humanist consciousness), so I had no qualms about skewering it now.


Himanshu Modi A very well written review! Do you do all of them in the form of a letter? I absolutely agree with all your positives and the negatives you mentioned got my Goat as well. Oh and also, did you know I can now go from Boston to Nebraska without a GPS?


carol. Himanshu, thank you for your comment. This and one other are the only 'letter' formats I've used to date. I think the "journal" entries inspired me.

Congrats on being able to find your way around a highway system without a GPS! However did ancient Americans manage it?


Jamie Best review I have ever read on Goodreads! Well done!


carol. Thanks, Jamie! Nice to have the positive feedback.


message 48: by Mike (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mike Very strange, but fun to read.


carol. I agree, particularly the whole apocalypse flu-scenario, the dark man and his evil empire; strange concepts but generally entertaining.


Wait, did you mean me?


message 50: by Mike (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mike Carol. wrote: "I agree, particularly the whole apocalypse flu-scenario, the dark man and his evil empire; strange concepts but generally entertaining.


Wait, did you mean me?"


Yes, haha. I am just starting the book after finishing Night Shift.


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