So I finally have read Stephen King’s The Shining, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. May not seem like it since it took me weeks to get through it, but considering I paused to read 4 other books, that’s not very surprising. What was surprising was how much I was able to lose myself in the novel despite having watched the film first.
The Shining is very similar to the Stanley Kubrick film adapted from the novel, except the characters are better developed. In the book you can really see how much being a husband and father means to Jack Torrance, while the movie plays him as a straight horror villain. Also, Wendy is tougher in the book, and less annoying than portrayed in the film.
While the other characters are still the same (for the most part), what I enjoyed was learning the backstories of the spirits who inhabit the Overlook. Though giving the Overlook’s and Grady’s history, the movie doesn’t delve into the other spirits’ pasts too deeply. One thing I love about the movie that is missing from the book are the previous caretaker’s creepy twins, and the elevator of blood.
When I saw the movie as a kid I thought the twins were the scariest thing in it. I liked how Kubrick used other children to try to persuade Danny Torrance to join the Overlook’s crew. Being snowed inside the huge hotel with only your parents to keep you company has to be torturous for a small child. Using the spirits of children who have previously lived in the hotel as potential playmates is quite terrifying when you think about it. Then again, children in horror films always tend to offer a big fright.
Instead, the book offers the same precocious boy, but with more maturity. Book Danny doesn’t seem to need the company of other children, and the hotel manages to scare him without using the images of slain children. I don’t want to give too much away, but the differences make reading The Shining entertaining.
The whole time I was reading I couldn’t help but compare the novel to the film, and often noted where the two differed. I found this added to my enjoyment. If, however, you are one that can’t separate the book and the movie when having watched the film first, then you may want to steer clear. Like the film, the book slowly builds the suspense before the big finale. Don’t read this thinking it’ll be more action-packed. It won’t. Though a slow read, I never found it boring, but I did find it difficult to pick back up after having been away from it a while.