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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King | Book Review

This book was creepy and vibrant and touching and exciting and an excellent sequel to The Shining and many more things. A few years ago I never thought I would be reading books by this author. I grew up not watching PG 13 movies until I was actually 13, and I never watched any horror movies. I still don't. I'm a pretty cheerful upbeat guy who doesn't like to dwell on gruesome dark stuff. My favorite movies and books are more of the coming of age sci-fi and fantasy adventure types. I guess you could say I'm not a horror fan, that was until I read King. Many times when I would talk to friends about the love of reading and writing they would ask, "have you read any of Stephen King's books?" I would always respond by saying I wasn't into horror. Then I read his great book called On Writing where he gives a bio of his life and writes a lot about the craft of writing. So then, you guessed it, The Shining was the first King book I read. My friend let me borrow his beat up paperback copy, but I ended up grabbing the audiobook from my public library. It was really good. I went on to read many more King books after that finding that he was a great writer, even if some of his books bored me in the middle sometimes. His novella The Body is possibly my favorite book of all time. I've read it several times in the last few years. The audiobook is narrated by the legendary Frank Muller and it is amazing.

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This story is about an old guy dealing with alcoholism, ghosts, evil old people who travel teh nation in RVs, and many other things. It's also about a little girl dealing with her special powers, I know nothing new to a King novel but he did a bang up job writing this one and it felt new and inventive and fresh and awesome. I'm not a drinker. I have a drink about once every two months or so. A glass of red wine, or a mixed drink at a family party. Maybe a hard lemonade. I've never had more than one drink. I've never been drunk. It would seem there isn't much to relate to in this novel for me, but there is. It's really about seeing a character hit rock bottom and deal with picking up the pieces to eventually get to a place where they can help others. It's about a lot of other things, but that's one of the main ones. I've hit rock bottom a few times. It is just about always when one of my kids are sick. I've stayed overnight in the hospital with a sick child many more times than I'd like to remember. It's different than being at rock bottom from personal bad choices, but all this to say that this book which would seem like a story I couldn't relate to was touching to me and I loved it.

I may have blogged about this in the past but I think Stephen King's main strength is that he writes great characters. I've read many of his books now and there were a few that got boring in the middle. They were bloated with info dumps, flashbacks, back story, and exposition but I always kept reading. I kept reading because in all of his books I had become very invested in his characters and I had to know what was going to happen to them. I cared about his characters. I think this strength Stephen has is why he is the king of fiction so to speak. There are many other reasons, the dude can write some brilliant prose, but I think it's the characters we all come to love that push his books to the top of the charts and keep his stories in the minds of readers. I heard Mr. King asked by an interviewer that while his books are scary there are also touching moments in them. King responded by saying that you can't be scared for a character unless you care about them. Stephen King writes characters you care about. He fleshes them out brilliantly.

So yes great characters I became invested in have carried me through some of his books with bloated middles but this book had no bloat. I loved every chapter. I never grew bored. There were some nice slower chapters where you get to explore the different places in the story, but it never got boring. This book was a fantastic read and if you like The Shinning you'll love this great sequel Doctor Sleep.

Have you read Doctor Sleep? Did you even know a sequel to The Shining was out? Are you a Stephen King fan or do you not understand what all the hype is about? Sound off in the comments, I'd love to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by.

See for yourself how awesome this book is: Doctor Sleep at Amazon
And the one that comes before it: The Shining at Amazon


  1. As you all might be knowing,this is the sequel to "The Shining",the movie was one of the scariest I've ever seen.I have always been a fan of Stephen King's storytelling and how you grow fond of the characters..

    1. Hi Arvind! Thanks for the comment. Yes Stephen king is the master of characterization. I agree with your comment. Thank you for leaving it