Stephen King’s, “The Shining” was the Roux Reads Book Club’s first group read of the year. President, Ryan Towne, and Vice President, Rick Chapman, reviewed the book for The Southern. For more information on the book club, inquire at the Roux Library.
Rick Chapman, Contributing Writer
“The Shining” a popular Stephen King novel is an incredible mix of mystery and horror. We follow a young family that has fallen into hard times as the father takes on a new job as a winter caretaker for an old hotel resort in the mountains of Colorado called the Overlook Hotel. The book takes a turn when we find the family’s young boy has abilities – referred to as “shining” – to see beyond the natural reality of the hotel.
At first only the boy can see glimpses and visions of the hotel’s dark past but before long the entire place comes alive with lights and sound of the past guests and owners of the Overlook. It becomes known that the past of the hotel is not the best. A mystery arises as we find the hotel has been the site of many murders and was on multiple occasions used as a front to hide criminal activity. If the malevolent hotel succeeds in doing evil it would divide the family up and force them to mistrust and suspect each other for the strange things happening.
Although “The Shining” does start kind of slow it was definitely one of my favorite books the Roux Reads Book Club read last semester. It easily keeps your attention once it picks up and it does not take long to finish once it has your attention. As the story unfolds you find yourself caught up in understanding the hotel’s strange past, as well as the struggles the family is going through to stay alive and protect their son from those in the hotel that would like to take him at any cost.
I would recommend the shining to anyone who enjoys mystery and/or horror books, and of course anyone who is already a fan of King’s novels. Although an inspired movie already exists, slight differences keep the read from being spoiled.
Ryan Towne, Contributing Writer
There’s not much to say about Stephen King’s “The Shining” that hasn’t already been said. The movie and the novel have made a large mark in pop culture. “The Shinning” follows the Torrance family as they become off-season caretakers for the magnificent Overlook Hotel. The Overlook Hotel is cut off from civilization in the mountains, and is near inaccessible due to snow when winter rolls around. Everything starts out normal until a paranormal twist emerges and the deceased residents of the hotel’s past begin to roam about. Are these phantoms a figment of the imagination as the family falls victim to cabin fever or is there really a deeper secret to the hotel?
The true horror of the novel doesn’t stem from the ghostly encounters in the Overlook Hotel but from human nature. “The Shining” depicts the collapse of the Torrance family. The father suffers from alcoholism and anger issues. The mother struggles with the notion of staying with her toxic husband or divorcing him, depending on which is better for her son. And the son, who knows more than he should, believes he is causing the fission in his family. The book realistically shows the vain attempts to reunite the family.
When it comes to the Torrance family, there are no standard good guys and bad guys. The novel really shines – no pun intended – with its character development. Every action the trio makes has a reason. To some degree, the family members truly believe their actions will be beneficial, although it’s clearly tearing them further apart. Can these characters pull themselves together and survive the ghastly hotel, or will they fall victim to the triggers around them with no chance of moral redemption?
If your knowledge of “The Shining” comes solely from the movie, give the book a try. The movie explores the actions of the characters, while the novel dives deeper into the moral decisions that lead to those actions.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a haunting chill. Sometimes the scariest things can emerge from the people you love most, and good intentions can lead to deadly mistakes.