Hayden's Reviews > The Long Walk

The Long Walk by Richard Bachman
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's review
Mar 18, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites
Recommended to Hayden by: A friend
Recommended for: Anyone

The Long Walk by Stephen King tells the story of an alternate, totalitarianistic America in which one hundred teenaged boys line up on a desolate Maine highway. At nine o’clock in the morning, ‘The Long Walk’ begins. In this alternate universe, ‘The Long Walk’ is a sort of sporting event that is carried out by the military. It is fully embraced by the American people, in a way that is reminescent of the Olympics. The idea is that the contestants are to begin walking down the highway without stopping. If they fall below five miles per hour, they are given a warning. Fall below this margin more than three times, and they are given their ‘ticket’, and are removed from the walk. The last man standing is the winner, and is awarded whatever he wishes for, for the rest of his life. But there is a darker idea lurking behind the event, because there are no ‘tickets’ handed out. If a contestant falls below five miles per hour more than three times, he is laid on the street, and shot in the head with a high powered military rifle, to be killed instantly. The story follows Ray Garraty, a sixteen year old boy who, for his own personal reasons, has decided to sign up for the walk. Throughout the novel, we follow him, literally down the road, as he gains friendships, makes enemies, and learns some hard truths about life. As he walks down the road in an effort to make it out alive, he realizes that nothing in this life is really as it seems.

It is impossible to comprehend the true meaning of ‘page turner’ until one has read this terrifying novel. The suspense is so heavy, you can almost feel it emanating from the pages of the book. The story is also full of character development, in which you spend time getting to know each of the walkers, their strengths, their weaknesses, their personalities, their reasons for signing up for this unholy event. Once the walkers begin to tire, and slow down, the reader will find that the character development has only enhanced the suspense, as you will truly care for the protaganists as if they were family, and will not want to see them fall down and meet their demise on the cold, hard road. What makes the whole premise even scarier, is the idea that any one small thing can kill you. At one point, a walker gets a pebble in his shoe, which causes a blister, which causes him to walk slower. Another drinks his water too fast, and gets a cramp, slowing him down to meet his certain doom.

What adds to this story’s brilliance, is, when you think about it, the entire premise is almost like a metaphor for life itself. As humans, we all walk down the road of uncertainty, with nothing but the desire of achieving a goal being our only driving force. Over time, most of us slow down, and are taken out of the ‘walk’, so to speak, whether it be actual death, or just that natural acceptance of defeat. It is the last man standing, the one who has pushed himself through all of the pain and obstacles, the one who has watched his friends fall before him and still drives on, that makes it to the top. But, the question this story poses, is that when you’ve driven yourself that far, even once you’ve finally met your goal, is it possible to stop walking?

No reader is spared comfort or assurance as they follow along behind the one hundred young men. Sadness, love, and caring also run abundant in this tale. Any reader who can sit through the three hundred pages of fast paced story, and feel not one bit of emotion towards any of these perfectly drawn characters is surely insane. From its quiet, uneasy beginning, to its shocking ending, this story is guarunteed to rock you to your foundations, and leave you speechless for days.

5 stars, out of 5.
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Quotes Hayden Liked

Stephen King
“Garraty wondered how it would be, to lie in the biggest, dustiest library silence of all, dreaming endless, thoughtless dreams behind your gummed-down eyelids, dressed forever in your Sunday suit. No worries about money, success, fear, joy, pain, sorrow, sex, or love. Absolute zero. No father, mother, girlfriend, lover. The dead are orphans. No company but the silence like a moth's wing. An end to the agony of movement, to the long nightmare of going down the road. The body in peace, stillness, and order. The perfect darkness of death.

How would that be? Just how would that be?”
Stephen King, The Long Walk

Reading Progress

February 8, 2010 – Started Reading
February 15, 2010 – Finished Reading
March 18, 2010 – Shelved
January 21, 2011 – Shelved as: favorites
June 12, 2012 –
page 51

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