Book #65: Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King

I’m very happy to say that my first reading project of winter break was a successful one! At the beginning of 2015, I set a tentative goal of pulling most of my recreational reading from one sole bookshelf in my room that I cultivated last January. I’ve done okay with that goal, but it’s hard to risk the temptation to read new things as I buy them, but upon returning home last weekend, I decided to start back at this goal with Stephen King’s 2013 follow up to The Shining, Doctor Sleep.

Though I’ve long been a fan of the Stanley Kubrick film adaptation of The Shining (despite Stephen King’s hatred of it), I didn’t read the novel until early in 2013. That same year, my roommate gave me Doctor Sleep as a Christmas gift, but, for whatever reason, I didn’t crack it open until now.

Thankfully, Doctor Sleep was exactly what I’d been hoping for during my few weeks of freedom from school–something entertaining, exciting, and not overly academic (sometimes your brain just needs a rest, okay?).

Doctor Sleep begins just three years after the events of The Shining, but the vast majority of the novel follows the life of adult Dan Torrance, a recovering alcoholic who works in a hospice in New Hampshire, using his “shining” abilities to help patients through death. Dan is a man still haunted by his childhood and tries to avoid using his powers as much as possible, but when he’s telepathically contacted by a young girl with similar talents, he becomes involved in a complicated plot to keep the girl safe.

Though Stephen King includes an author’s note about how he was hesitant to revisit a story that’s been popular with his readers for so long, I found that the connections between the two books was fairly minimal–in a good way. Sure, you need to know a bit of Dan’s personal history to understand the story, and the Overlook of the original book is certainly important here, but overall, this is a very different story, and one I quite enjoyed reading.

This marks my fourth Stephen King novel, which isn’t much considering the depth of his cadre, but it invigorated me to delve further into his works. Doctor Sleep isn’t a super quick read at 528 pages, but it’s a journey I’m happy to have been on.

 

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