Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Re-Visiting Stephen King's The Shining #3 - Part Two: Closing Day

Re-reading a book is something that has never really appealed to me. It's not a matter of remembering things (I used to be very good at things like that, but I'm not quite so good at it anymore... I practically had most of the events of The Stand memorized at one point, but that's all gone now), but a matter of feeling like I've "conquered" a particular book and conquering the same book twice (or more) seems kind of silly. To me, anyway. Of course, there's always the enjoyment factor of a book and it certainly has been a long time since I read this book for the first time. I remember enjoying it and being inspired by it.

It's a tedious book, though. That's something I am beginning to remember (or rediscover), too. The first two parts took me a long time to read when I first read the book. Of course, they also took me a long time this time around, but for different reasons. Since I read The Shining as an attempt to essentially teach myself how to read a novel for enjoyment in high school I found it to be tough sledding; I also wasn't good at reading and I read very slow. I kept having to read things over again because my comprehension sucked. And The Shining itself is not a very fast-paced book. Sure, you could fly through the pages if you were really committed to it (and much better read than I was), but the first hundred-fifty or so pages are essentially characterization pieces. The Overlook is indeed shown, but nothing of real importance happens concerning the Overlook. Although the most interesting thing to happen in part two is the conversation between Hallorann and Danny about the shining. Stephen King does pretty good at creating characters, but it seems that so much of the early part of this book is nothing but characterization and that can be brutal if you are just starting out trying to read or want something a little bit more in-your-face. You keep waiting for that big scary moment to happen and nothing does happen for a long time. 

There's nothing wrong with that process (as long as the end result is worth it), but it does take some patience. When I was younger I found that patience tested a bit too much so when I finally gave up on the book just after finishing part three. Briefly gave up, but gave up nonetheless and returned the book back to the school library before I could get a late fee. About six months later (or something like that) I saw the book in a Wal-Mart (the yellow pocket books edition with the author introduction) and my dad got it for me and I finished reading by picking up right where I left off (Yeah, I used to have that kind of memory). It was (unsurprisingly, considering it was the climax and all that) a bit faster-paced toward the end.

Although I have only just started the third part on this second go around, I think I know why I came back to the book. For starters, everything that has happened so far in this book is interesting. Maybe a little bit dry and wondering in delivery (going directly from Danny's perspective to Wendy's and then going back to Danny  within the space of a sentences is kind of annoying), but still fairly interesting. However, what made me pick it up again was that I knew it would be a great book if I could only finish it. It was the longest thing I ever attempted reading at the time, but I knew I could finish it and that the end result would be good if I just stuck with it. 

I was right, I think. I hope I'm right this time, too. My memory does suck, though. We'll see. 

Onto Part Three: The Wasp's Nest (aka the "I don't remember any of this stuff from before" part).

1 comment:

  1. For some reason, I never struggled with the beginning of The Shining. I found the entire book totally engrossing. But I do hear what your saying. I think maybe why I found it so engrossing is that when I read it for the first time, I had just begun my short stint of living in Colorado and so I probably mentally connected with the location. I think I found the whole location and background of the hotel interesting because I had actually seen the hotel that was the inspiration for the book. Snow was new to me and the whole idea of being trapped and snowed in was a plus too.

    One thing that I'm wondering about nowadays is how is anyone going to be able to pull off a novel of isolation anymore? When The Shining was written it was possible to get stranded with no communication but that is hard to do now. You can do an isolation novel in space but it's getting harder to do a believable novel (on earth) of isolation where people can be totally cut off.