book review

‘The Shining’ – Review 

Both my parents are massive Stephen King fans and have read pretty much all of his books multiple times since their teens so I finally decided the time was right to try my first King book and follow in their footsteps. 

I can safely say it was a good decision. 

Having read a lot of young adult fantasy books to get myself back into the swing of reading I’ve branched out to psychological thrillers as this is a genre of film I really enjoy, however, despite my excessive reading I have a small vocabulary and can struggle to understand older books due to the language, simply because I’m not used to it. This was a difficult boundary for me with ‘The Shining’ as Stephen King has a very particular writing style. Having been written in the 70’s I found some of the language a little dated along with some of the ideas and beliefs of that era in America for example on race. I strangely liked this as it kept with the time and setting in the book and gave me an insight into the mindset and life of the author. 

Another stand out aspect of the authors writing is how descriptive King is. Normally I find this a little boring in books as I like to find out what’s happening next in the story as I’m so impatient but in this case I loved it! King is the only author I’ve come across in my short life that can spend two pages describing a window or a tree or a door and still captivate the reader. His description paints a picture brighter and more vivid in the mind of the reader than any cinematography could do. This was definitely a pro for me! 

The storyline itself was different than I thought it would be. I found the character of the mother, Wendy Torrance, weedy from the first page to the last and didn’t feel the description of her appearance matched her personality but this clash caught me by surprise and added a new layer to the character. I found Jack enthralling. From his alcoholic breakdowns and drunken abusive side to the doting father, Jack Torrance had me hooked from page one. He was like an onion just waiting to be peeled, each time revealing a new and unexpected personality trait that would take the story in a different turn. For me his downward spiral to murdering protector of The Overlook was so subtle it was brilliant. With each page Jack was stretched thinner until he eventually cracked resulting in the climax of the book. 

I found Danny creepy but strangely loveable despite his ability to shine which added to the strangeness of the book. Without him the story wouldn’t have been as interesting as his character gave us the viewpoint of a child. I did think Danny was written as quite a few years older than his age of five years but I soon became used to this and his childish thoughts made up for his more mature thoughts. 

The personification of the hotel was beautifully written and sent chills down my spine. I particularly enjoyed the hedge animals and their attack on the cook, Mr Hallorann. Instead of turning into a dog, lion etc in my head I felt I could really see the greenery and the shapes of the facial features built from leaves and branches. 

Overall I really enjoyed this book but I think I will enjoy my second Stephen King book more now that I’ve had an insight into his writing style and language used. I would highly recommend this book to everyone! 

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5 thoughts on “‘The Shining’ – Review 

  1. This was such a great review! I recently read my first Stephen King book, Carrie. I’d love to keep reading his work and I couldn’t decide what to go for. Your review had helped me make up my mind – The Shining it is! 😊

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      1. Carrie was really good! Religious fanaticism paired with alternating character perspectives so you can explore the same key event through different points to really delve into the paranormal/psychological horror genre x

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  2. I’m a huge Stephen King fan, and have read a great many of his books. The Shining was a great book of his, I’m currently reading ‘Doctor Sleep’ which is the next book after The Shining in which it refers back to a lot. Enjoying it so far.

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