The Shining by Stephen King - Audio Review

A classic reread on audio.


The Shining by Stephen King
Horror Fiction 
Released August 2012, Unabridged 15+ Hours
Amazon ♦ Goodreads
Listening Length: 15 hours and 56 minutes

Jack Torrance's new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he'll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old. 

My Thoughts:

I reread this on audio, narrated by Campbell Scott. I was a kid when I read it the first time and it helped solidify my lifelong love of the horror genre. I hoped it would be as scary as I remembered.

Knowing what I now know about Jack after reading Doctor Sleep (if you haven’t read it, you should) helped give me a different slant on his character making him a wee bit more sympathetic instead of the flat out villain I remembered. It also helped that he wasn’t actually written as an unhinged loon from the get go but as a flawed man struggling to keep his family afloat and intact while he battled with the dangerous demons of addiction, anger and regret. I had forgotten all of that or it likely went over my head when I first read it and Jack Nicholson’s performance lingered in my brain instead. Wendy is a better character in the book, for certain, because we get her inner thoughts instead of all of the endless screaming and Danny was such a wise little boy which makes sense considering his gift/curse. I didn’t catch that on the first read because I had never been around kids his age.

It’s most definitely a frightening book but in a very different way than the film. Much of the horror is internal with the dread and ghosts of the hotel slowly creeping up on you rather than smacking you in the face with their presence (and floppy boobs!). I enjoyed all of the backstory of the hotel (even dog-man is there!) and there’s quite a bit of it and the sense of utter isolation and helplessness amidst the storm is terrifying.

My 12 year old self would’ve given it a five. My grumpy, grown up self gives it 4 ½. Campbell Scott is an excellent narrator and does a low-key performance that doesn’t over-exaggerate the scenes or dialogue which worked for me.

Comments

  1. Hey, that's still a pretty good rating. I LOVE this book and remember reading in in 6th grade history class - literally. I had it hidden inside my history book and sat in the back of the class reading. I reread this a few years back and still enjoyed it. You make a valid point, movie Wendy is nerve-grating at best. I never felt it needed a sequel, but I didn't mind Dr. Sleep as much as some people did. I will never look at campers on the highway traveling the same way though.

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  2. I read this for the first time last year and was glad to finally see King's vision of this novel. It's definitely scary, and I loved the little boy in it...Danny? He was my favorite part! :)

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    1. Yes, Danny was such a smart little boy in the novel! I only remember him as a petrified kid in the movie.

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  3. Sounds like a good narrator for this one. I'd like to listen to it after having already read the book and seen the movie.

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  4. I still need to read this one. I don't even think that I have seen the whole movie. I have a copy so I do hope to make it happen soon. I could use a scary read.

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    1. It's also great on audio if your library has it. I seem to get through books much faster on audio.

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  5. I read this in 2011 and I didn't like it, but that may have been my tastes back then. I've been meaning to re-read it, see if my thoughts change.

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    1. You didn't like The Shining?! I think that's the first time I've heard someone admit that :)

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    2. Yeah! I mean, King's writing sort of threw me, and I didn't find it scary at all. It could offer a different experience today, I've changed quite a bit.

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  6. This was a Stephen King early offering that I didn't much like. I seem to be in the minority though!

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  7. I've seen the movie (one of the very few horror movies I've seen lol), but I haven't read the book. Sounds like there's a lot here that isn't in the movie that makes the book a lot more interesting!

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