The Shining – Visions of Insanity

I didn’t think I was going to finish this book before Halloween. I very much doubted I could since I’ve been on night shifts this week which means self-care needs extra attention.

But, the great thing about the night shift is that when it gets quiet, I can binge-read to my heart’s content if I am not too tired. So, yeah, I finished The Shining just in time.

I loved the film so I had to pick up the book and this is my first Stephen King novel. Some people love his work while others, not so much. But I kept an open mind. I have to say I detected some Lovecraft inspiration here in his writing.

There’s a lot more backstory in this novel, like how Jack Torrence became an alcoholic and how he struggled to sober up after things went too far.

There is also a lot more detail on Danny’s visions and I enjoyed the chapters from his perspective the most. While he still has premonitions of the Overlook before the family travels there, there have also been incidents where Tony shows him even more on regular occasions but Danny can’t remember afterward.

I really liked the chapter where Danny converses with Hallorann in his car before he leaves and the latter is very fond of the boy because of their shared unique talent. It’s almost like Dick is a second father to Danny and his role in this book is much larger than it was in the movie.

Some other really intense parts were some of the hallucinations the family experienced like Danny thought he was being chased by the fire hose, turned snake and when Jack saw the topiary animals come to life and were closing in on him. These were not shown in the film and were depicted so vividly that I stayed up late just to finish their assigned chapters.

The movie didn’t provide much detail on the incident in that specific room Dick warns Danny to stay away from. (It’s 237 in the movie but in the book, it’s 217) Meanwhile, this book provides backstory of the last resident of that room and when Danny finally lets his curiosity get the better of him and enters 217, I thought that was the most terrifying part of the book equivalent to the same scene in the film where Jack enters instead.

The last moment I recall that was truly disturbing was Jack seeing those clock figures where the father with the mallet pounds the boy to death and almost into nothingness. That had to be the most gruesome thing ever that drove him insane.

I don’t know how to describe it but reading this book makes me understand the story better and what isolation can do to one’s sanity. Though it’s not always the case, Jack was a recovering alcoholic still bound to face inner demons of his own. It’s like the hotel was possessed strengthening Danny’s talent where something is there one minute and then the next it’s not. Then it becomes stronger as it soon affects his parents.

I genuinely thought Wendy was going to die but I was proven wrong and I will say that this book seemed to have a better ending than the movie, it felt more satisfying to read there. But the one criticism I have is of all the hallucinations, not one could have been of not just Grady but what about his two daughters? They don’t make an appearance in this book and I thought for sure that they would.

Anyway, great horror novel, very graphic and terrifying in a way that stays with you forever and ever and ever. (No pun intended!) And now it’s time to go watch the movie again.

Rating: 5 out of 5.



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