I was probably one of the people who immediately fan-girled when news came out of a sequel to The Shining. I was late to the shining reading game, having read it just a little over 2 years ago. However, that meant the story was still fresh in my mind. My brother-in-law got me Doctor Sleep and I couldn’t be happier, over the next week every chance I got I caught up with Danny- not so little anymore though sometimes just as naïve- Torrance. Summary and review after the jump (spoilers if you have yet to read The Shining)
Doctor Sleep mainly takes place about forty years since the Overlook burned down. However King makes sure to get the reader up to speed by mentioning some important aspects of Dan’s life before we actually get to the important part. Despite Dan’s refusal to become like his father, Jack, The shining is taking its toll on Danny, especially in his early adolescence and he soon finds comfort, like Jack, in alcohol. He trades his gift for blacked-out nights and soon after reaching rock bottom, he comes upon a small new Hampshire town where he feels he is meant to be. With newfound friends and a new job, he quickly gets his life back together. Evil is still out there, and he is soon brought back to it when Abra, a little girl with the shining, though far exceeding Dan’s own powers, reaches out to him for help. A group of un-human travelers is feeding on people like them and it soon becomes clear that if they’re not stopped, Dan, Abra, and anyone like them are in grave danger.
I was surprised at how quick Dan got over his alcohol problem. Of course I know he doesn’t really ever get over it. King makes sure to emphasize that throughout the story, highlighting the struggle he faces staying away from the drink all the time. It’s just that his rock bottom, comes quicker than I expected it. It’s not really a complaint, it gives more room for the real plot to manifest. Dan is definitely his father’s son and King makes sure you remember it. The way Dan is written, from the wisecracks he makes to the sudden outbursts of Anger, he is definitely related to Jack Torrance. But this is also as much Abra’s story as it is Dan’s. Dan is the older Generation of the shining while Abra is the younger, signifying the ongoing life cycle; very much how Dick Hallorann and Jack Torrance signified the old, while little Danny signified the new in The Shining. King takes the reader back to where the story began; you can never escape the past- you will remember what was forgotten- and it is important to remember that we, like Dan, cannot prosper without the memories, however horrible they might be, of things gone by. King successfully tugs at heartstrings, scares you senseless and makes you believe in love with this book. It’s truly a classic.
You can buy Doctor Sleep here.
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