So it is pretty hard for me to give an objective review of a Stephen King book as I am what you would call a King junkie or as he calls it a Constant Reader. But the thing is really it is not like you are reading this review thinking, “Who is this Stephen King I keep hearing about? I wonder if he is any good?” You likely are already a fan, a disgruntled fan or a detractor. I fall into the straight up fan category meaning I don’t really complain about the quality of his later works and all of that. Nobody is perfect but I can always count on King to give me a good time and that is all that matters to me.
So Doctor Sleep is the latest King novel that I read and surprise, I liked it. For anyone not familiar, this book is a sequel to “The Shining”. I read the shining about 13 years ago as I remember it was when I was working as a toy crane machine stuffer and my route took me through this winding road that reminded me of what I think Colorado would be like. I remember taking my breaks and reading the tale of Jack Torrance and his family. I don’t remember everything about the book but I do remember Jack’s struggles with alcoholism, the scary hedge maze and topiary animals and of course the boiler. I was glad to be able to revisit the characters from this book and see how things worked out for Danny Torrance.
Things are never easy for Stephen King characters. Maybe just once he should write a book where everything is happy and light, I wonder what that would be like. Maybe a bit like the hot chocolate scene from the Dark Tower. But the sweet doesn’t taste as good without the sour so I suppose things are best as they are. Dan Torrance as he is now called has also succumbed to the booze monster as he uses it to dim the shining that often brings unwanted visitors. But with addiction there isn’t much point in looking for reasons why, as your life will be destroyed either by the ghosts or by the booze so you might as well try to live and deal with your demons even if they are actual demons (although that is not the case for most).
Dan ends up bouncing from place to place and finally hits his bottom and luckily finds himself some kindred spirits and ends up getting his act together. He settles in to a decent life in a small town and eventually lands a job at a hospice where he uses his special talents to help the dying. Of course there is more to the story than that, there is another child with the shining that needs Dan’s help and of course there has to be something evil that wants to come along and ruin everything.
Although it wouldn’t be something I would go out of my way to recommend to someone who wasn’t a King fan, it was a really fun book for me to read. My almost 13 year old is just starting to get into King and I couldn’t be more excited to have this to share with him although I admit I am jealous that he gets to read them all for the first time. I also introduced him to King’s son, Joe Hill and we will be preparing a collaborative review of N0S4A2 soon.