Pardon me if I seem a little jumpier than usual today. It is somewhat embarrassing to explain, but I just finished Stephen King’s The Shining last night and I have a little, teeny bit of post traumatic stress disorder. I know I am approximately 25 years late for this particular party, but I must congratulate myself for knowing my limits. This book sent me over the precipice of my imagination into the abyss of irrational fear.
I know it’s not real. I know this is a “fake face”. Nevertheless, I find myself turning on lights in dark rooms and looking over my shoulder at suspicious shadows. It’s real enough to me.
My familiarity with King’s work began with movies. Frankly, I thought I would die of horror at Cujo and I never, ever want to see a St. Bernard again. The Jack Nicholson version of Jack Torrence terrified me into never seeing another Stephen King movie again, unless it was The Shawshank Redemption. Guilt over never having read a Stephen King novel overwhelmed me and I chose this one. What was I thinking?
I got on the roller coaster of my own free will. I knew the major plot points. I went in with eyes wide shut (note the gratuitous Kubrick reference). What I did not know that was that King is a master story-teller and his portrait of the Torrence family, the Overlook Hotel, were believable, even when they should not have been.
And the red death held sway
It is difficult to review this book because I am utterly speechless. It is an emotional experience, not an exercise in intellect. While everything in this book is smart and well done, the overwhelming experience is emotional. I am now afraid of dark rooms and shadows and old hotels and I don’t know that I will ever get better. That’s how good this book is. I am gutted.
If you have 1) an active imagination; 2) a day or two; and 3) the overwhelming urge to be scared witless, read this book.
But never, ever read it after midnight when the wind is blowing. Just saying.
9.5/10 hearts – I knocked off 1/2 a heart for the sleepless night.