“The man who wrote Doctor Sleep is very different from the well-meaning alcoholic who wrote The Shining, but both remain interested in the same thing: telling a kickass story.”
-Stephen King (from the authors note)
King does well in this sequel to ‘The Shining’, he creates characters and places that are complex and engrossing. Having read ‘The Shining’, I found that King’s style and voice was more mature in ‘Doctor Sleep’.
For those of you who don’t know, ‘The Shining’ follows Danny (Doc) during his stay at the overlook hotel. His father has been hired as caretaker of the hotel, so the small family of three (including the meek wife Wendy) are stuck in the deserted, and cut off from civilization hotel all winter, and what a winter. This is essentially when Danny discovers that the hotel is filled with dead people, all unsettled and slightly wrathful. To top it off, the hotel itself seems to want to kill them, or at least Danny.
This book is right up at the top of the list of books that scare the living shit out of people (cue Joey hiding the book in the freezer so that the contents couldn’t get him). The movie by Stanley Kubrick is also considered vital horror show history. Strangely enough I found neither ‘The Shining’ nor ‘Doctor Sleep’ to be scary. Not that they weren’t good books, I enjoyed them thoroughly.
‘Doctor Sleep’ picks up years and years after the overlook. We find Danny (now Dan) as an adult, much like his father, wandering, trouble making and drinking. This is coupled with flashes of other people’s lives, some strange and supernatural. Dan hits rock bottom and ends up in a small New Hampshire town, right where he should be without knowing it. On the behest of his new employer (also a former alkie) he joins AA. Here King’s detailed descriptions are at the best. If you’ve never been in AA (I haven’t) it’s like stepping into a whole new world, and it feels so real. This is really the backbone of the story, a redemption story. But before Dan can be redeemed there are monsters to be slain, strange human shape monsters. I won’t elaborate too much, since it’s an enjoyable surprise as you get into the story. I will say this, King does a great job at making his ‘evil’ not entirely evil and his ‘good’ not entirely good.
I would give this book a very good rating, it’s an easy and enjoyable read. The only thing is that you should read ‘The Shining’ before reading this. It will make the book all the better.
Have you read the shining? If so did you enjoy it?