Book Review: The Shining

It has been said by Stephen King fans that his older work is his best work. I’m not sure about that because I actually became a fan of his first through his newer work. That said, when going back to read perhaps his most famous older work, The Shining, it’s hard to disagree that, at least with this one. It’s revered for a reason.

Here’s my Goodreads review of the book, which I started and finished in February. I do talk about the ending a bit at the end of this review. Spoilers ahead.

It’s Stephen King. I love his style. I’ve been trying to put my finger on what it is about his style that I find so endearing, and I think it’s two words: macabre jocularity. King is writing some truly horrific scenes and dialogue in this book, of course, but interspersed is that signature macabre jocularity. Playful pop culture references, humorous asides, and loose dialogue.

I, for one, adore Wendy throughout this book, and appreciate that she didn’t seem like a “damsel in distress” or an aside to the domineering presence of Jack and obviously, the gifted presence of Danny. She came into her own, and found her own kind of “shine.”

The last 150 pages or so are among the best of King’s work in my estimation. The slow burn of the previous 400 pages truly pays off well — pun intended. The pending, all-enveloping sense of doom induces claustrophobia, but there’s the juxtaposing nervous thrill of hoping Hallorann makes it in time. I’m incredibly satisfied by the ending. Well-done.

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