I read The Shining by Stephen King in honor of Halloween. It was a great choice too, let me tell ya! I’m not much of one for being afraid of ghosts, but by the time I was well into this story I sure was constantly terrified to see what would happen next…
Stephen King has this gift of being able to write normal, everyday people having normal everyday conversations over and over again in a way that makes you want to read it. When you look back on those parts of the story and try to figure out why you’re so captivated – you can’t quite put your finger on it because there isn’t anything extraordinary there. Just a gifted writer with the ability to remind you that the ordinary is worth reading about.
Of course, that is the truly scary part of the story. What can happen to normal, everyday people.
Stephen King also has the gift of making normal things seem unsettling. Even the simple act of the family going on an introductory tour of the kitchens gave me the heebie jeebies. Some of the most unsettling parts are just the pieces that foreshadow something worse to come:
As he got behind the truck’s wheel it occurred to him that while he was fascinated by the Overlook, he didn’t much like it. He wasn’t sure it was good for either his wife or his son or himself. Maybe that was why he had called [the hotel’s manager].
To be fired while there was still time.
And of course, there is the big bad in this particular story: the Overlook Hotel. It starts off pretty slow and vague – but by the end of the story that hotel has woken up one rip-roaring demonic mess.
The Overlook faced it as it had for nearly three-quarters of a century, its darkened windows now bearded with snow, indifferent to the fact that it was now cut off from the world. Or possibly it was pleased with the prospect. Inside its shell the three of them went about their early evening routine, like microbes trapped in the intestine of a monster.
So, you better believe The Shining had me freaking out. Not because I was looking over my shoulder expecting a crazy ghost to be there – but because this family – Jack, Wendy and Danny Torrence along with Dick Hallorann – got a hold on me and I was scared out of my mind waiting to see how their story would end.
I didn’t know much at all about the plot of The Shining before starting it, and that is what I want for everyone that might pick it up one of these days. Most of my enjoyment came from my crazed anticipation to see what would happen next – and dreading coming to the end. It was absolutely worth the ride y’all!