Maybe one of these days, I’ll finish one of his books in the afternoon. It usually seems to work out that I’ve got about a couple hundred pages to go around midnight, and I can’t bring myself to put it down for the night. I have to finish. This morning, I was up until 5 AM. At least we didn’t have to go anywhere today!
I’m not really going to give any spoilers here, just write a general review of the book. But if you like to be completely surprised by a book, you probably shouldn’t read this entry before you read the book. There were a couple of things that happened that made my jaw drop, and needless to say, I won’t be spoiling THAT for anyone!
If you don’t know anything about it, Doctor Sleep is the sequel to The Shining. We get to see what young Danny Torrance has been up to in the years since his Dad tried to beat him and his Mom to death with a roque mallet. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been up to much good, and is following in his father’s drunken footsteps.
After hitting rock bottom, he finds himself in a small New Hampshire town and encounters a couple of people who take a shine (so to speak) to him. He manages to claw his way back to sobriety and a job at the local hospice. With the assistance of the hospice cat, he is able to understand when the residents are ready to make the crossing to the Other Side, and he eases their journey; thus his nickname, and the title of the book.
He eventually encounters the shine of a young girl who is close by. She also attracts the attention of some very, very bad sorts who want her “steam”: her very powerful essence. This leads to a showdown between Good and Evil that King writes of so frequently.
There are a lot of great characters here that we come to genuinely care about, and chief among them is Dan Torrance, all grown up. His struggle is painful to watch, but he was a good kid and he’s a good man. You cheer for him the entire way. Abra, the young girl with the strong shine, is a fierce warrior. The bad guys are bad enough that you cheer for their complete and utter demise, although some of the acolytes are pathetic enough that you feel a tiny bit sorry for them. But not much.
King writes some great lines, and probably my favorite in the book was this:
We’re all dying. The world’s just a hospice with fresh air.Brilliant. And so true.
Both Lisa and Ken asked me if they should read The Shining before reading this sequel. They have seen the movie but haven’t read the book. I hadn’t read it for many years, but recently revisited it in preparation for reading this book. I’m glad I did. You wouldn’t have to read it, but I think it gives a better insight into the characters and to Danny’s complicated and dysfunctional relationship with his father. I think it’s also important to understand how Danny’s experience at the Overlook followed him for the rest of his life, and to remember some of the horrible things he encountered there.
Because some things linger.