The Shining (Review)

Book cover for "The Shining" by Stephen King.Title: The Shining

Author: Stephen King

Publication Year: 1977

Pages: 688

Genre: Fiction, Horror

Source: E-book version borrowed from the public library

From the cover:

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

Like pretty much everyone else, I’ve seen the movie of this book starring Jack Nicholson. Granted, I didn’t watch it until I was well into my 20s, but I have seen it. I’m never read any Stephen King books, though – I know! crazy, right? – until this one. I actually only ended up reading it because last year, King published a sequel, over 30 years after the original publication of The Shining, and I figured that it would probably be important to have actually read the book and not just have seen the movie.

In most respects, The Shining is much the same in book and movie version. The plot is generally the same, and the characters generally come across about the same. (It was kind of nice having the actors from the movie already in my head, actually, so I could just picture them the whole time.) And most of the major plot points are the same, so it was pretty easy to follow.

There are some differences, though. For starters, it was interesting reading the book and seeing the different perspectives and inner thoughts of the different characters. I also got to see a lot of things happen that were left out of the movie, which was kind of nice. Also, the “shining” that Danny has is explained more in the book than it ever was in the movie, which I liked. There was more of a mystical element to the book – including what happens to Jack in the hotel – that seemed like it fit more.

There were also bits about the ending of the book that were different from how things turned out in the movie. At first, I felt like they were less realistic, but then I realized that The Shining really isn’t about realism. It’s about the shining. And I think that the different ways that things happen and are portrayed in the book version of fit better into the overall scheme of things.

The Shining definitely isn’t the kind of book that I would normally read, but I enjoyed it just the same. If you liked the movie, you probably will, too.


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