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.
“This inhuman place makes human monsters”
Stephen King blew my mind away with this iconic horror story!
This is my second King novel. The first being The Institute and I think it is more plot driven. As for The Shining, it is heavily character driven. In summary, this is a story about a father (Jack Torrance) who is haunted by his past demons and decided to start afresh by accepting a new job as a caretaker of the Overlook Hotel (which is haunted). Jack moved into the hotel with his family and a lot of strange things happened. The Overlook Hotel sort of came alive and “possessed” Jack by manipulating and using his past demons. At the end, Jack went mad and tried to murder his son, Danny and his wife, Wendy. We also follow Danny’s experience in the Overlook Hotel. He has the ability to read minds, see ghosts and see through the future or past incidents. He is thus able to see through what really happened with Jack and all the ghosts and horrific elements of the Overlook Hotel.
I love how King fleshed out Jack’s inner turmoil and conflict. King basically dug deep into the mentality of someone who had a rough childhood (being abused by a dominant and alcoholic father) and finally resort to alcohol and thereafter caught in a vicious cycle. The process of Jack trying to rehabilitate and control his temper and eventually gone mad is so well done! I enjoyed reading Jack’s character development a lot. Wendy and Danny’s character developments are also very well done. But Jack’s character arc is just so impressive and to me, it outshines the other characters. In this story, King explored the themes of alcoholism, domestic violence and abuse by blending it with his usual horror elements. I can see that King has done his research on these themes in a very thorough manner. And not to mention, the ending! It is so well executed, very scary and at the same time, very touching as well (especially the conversation between Danny and Dick Hallorann).
“But see that you get on. That’s your job in this hard world, to keep your love alive and see that you get on, no matter what. Pull your act together and just go on.”
To me, The Shining deserves a strong 4.8/5 star rating. Its still not a 5/5 star rating for me as there are some plots in this story which I think its unnecessary. I have picked up its sequel, Doctor Sleep and I hope its as good as The Shining!