The Shining by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Back in the day when I read this, years ago, I thought it was pretty good but not fantastic. I went ahead and went through all of SK's movies, too, and remembered watching Jack Nicholson in his iconic crazy and thought to myself, "Hey! This guy is freaking crazy! I love it!"
And now. I saw the Ready Player One movie with so many scenes right from that old film and had to rewatch the original Kubrick film and read the original novel again for *very* good measure since I'm back on an SK kick.
I watched that movie a few days ago and thought to myself, "This is a really bad movie. I still think that Jack is pretty awesome, but no matter how cool he is, it can't save this film."
And then I read the original book, keeping in mind what SK's thoughts were on the Kubrick film, as remembered so iconically through RPO. He despised it. And as I read The Shining, trying to keep an open mind, I realized something.
The Shining is Really, Really Good.
Gorgeous details, imagery that blows me away, thoroughly amazing characterization, depth, beauty, and such a great rising unease. I loved Jack in the book. I loved Danny in the book. I loved Halloran in the book. Wendy had a moment or two. But what I loved the most was the Hotel and all its creepy secrets, its depth, its horror. You might say the worldbuilding in this was something pretty damn amazing.
And then it hit me.
The Kubrick film is a dumpster fire trapped in a bubbling lake of poo.
It CRAPPED ON EVERYTHING that made the book great!!!!!
Jack in the book went nuts, sure, but the underlying message that "normal" novelists writing "normal" books are inherently batshit insane in comparison to "horror" novelists is as clear as day!
Seriously, there's enough story in this book to choke an ox and put any mainstream novel to shame. Because let's face it, SK shows more talent for mainstream fiction in this book than the majority of mainstream fiction, and he's just going to burn the whole house down! :)
Just do me a favor, folks, and skip any screened production of this novel and stick with the text. You will NOT be disappointed. :) :)
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