"A reader lives 1000 lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one."
- George R. R. Martin

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dr. Sleep

Danny Torrence is back, and the shine along with him!

Stephen King picks up the story of The Shining with the life of Danny, the boy who shines.  (If you have not read "The Shining," stop what you are doing and read it.  Right now! We'll wait).

Along with It and The Stand, The Shining is one of Stephen King's most beloved books, one of those stories that sticks with you over time.  One of the biggest questions left after the events at The Overlook Hotel is, "Whatever happened to Danny?" 

In Dr. Sleep, King returns to the world of Danny and his shine, walking the reader through the aftermath of The Overlook, and of Danny's father. 

Stephen King, more than most others, has a particular way of bringing the audience into the mind of his characters, allowing us to know them as they know themselves. His style is familiar, and some of his devices have been used before, but they are as effective as always in this sequel. 

After the Overlook Hotel's demise, Danny and his mother move to Florida with Dick Halloran for a while, who continues to help Danny manage his extraordinary abilities.  Some chilling events unfold as Danny, Wendy and Dick recover, but this section of the story is fairly brief.

We then jump ahead: Danny, it seems, has fallen into his father's footsteps and leads a life ruled by alcohol.  Wandering from town to town, and drink to drink, Danny is adrift.  The alcohol seems to dull the shine, which is just fine with him, but it dulls his life as well.  Eventually he finds himself in a small New Hampshire town, rock bottom a familiar feeling, when help arrives and brings Danny to AA.  Now the story really gets going.

We first meet Abra as a baby, who's special abilities may even outpace Danny's.  As she grows up and her abilities strengthen, and as Danny finally finds a life worth living, the odd connections between the two grow stronger.  Throughout the story we jump back and forth between the stories of Danny and Abra, and the goings on of the True Knot, an imortal (?) tribe who survive by sucking "steam" from areas where a  disaster has occurred.  They can also get steam from children with special abilities: children like Abra.

Dr. Sleep offers many chills, several thrills, and even a few tears as Danny and Abra, along with their families and friends, fight for their lives and their shine.  The story of the Overlook Hotel didn't end with The Shining after all, and Danny's story is worth reading. 

If you love Stephen King, especially "classic" Stephen King, I would highly recommend Dr. Sleep.  If you have not read much of Stephen King, then run out and read The Shining followed immediately by Dr. Sleep, It, and The Stand.  Then throw in some Carrie, Dead Zone, The Eye Of the Dragon, and Christine.  Now you can move on to his short stories, which are often better than his novels: The Long Walk, The Body, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption... 

Basically, read Stephen King. A lot.

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