I first read this book when it was hot off the press in 1977. I finished it one morning right before going in to work at an Owensboro, KY department store. It was hard to get my mind on work after experiencing the traumatic events at the Overlook Hotel.
For those who may not know the story of the Shining, it is about a troubled family looking to find a geographical cure to their problems (including dad’s drinking) by moving to a isolated hotel where they will be caretakers over the winter. The hotel is haunted. But the story isn’t about the ghosts; it’s about how the evil of the hotel exaggerates and takes over the family’s emotional and psychological states.
The mom tries to hold it together, but she does not understand where her son is coming from (he is psychic, i.e.-“shines”). Dad is basically a good man, but struggles with anger. He wants to drink, but is on the wagon. The hotel bar beckons, complete with a friendly ghostly crowd. He tries to be strong, but cannot hold out. This causes him to neglect his family. Guilt (and psychosis) causes him to turn on them. But when it comes to actually killing his son, he destroys himself to save the child.
If you have only seen the movie, well, you saw a good movie with great acting and a classic scene (even though there is no hatchet in the book).But the book delivers on a deeper level. I highly recommend reading (or re-reading) The Shining and just ENJOYING being held captive by a master story teller.
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