October 5, 2013
Saturday, October 05, 2013 | Posted by Billy Burgess
By Stephen King
Pub. Date: September 24, 2013
In 1977, author Stephen King scared millions of readers with the horror novel The Shining, which was about a recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance becoming the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel during the isolated winter months. He lived in the hotel his wife Wendy and their five-year-old son Danny. Of course the hotel was haunted and chaos stirs about. The book was made into a feature film in 1980 directed by Stanley Kubrick and was made into a television mini-series in 1997.
Now, Stephen King has written the long awaited sequel called Doctor Sleep with the opening pages picking up where the 1977 original left off, showing the physical and emotional trauma left upon Wendy, Danny and Dick Hallorann (the chef of the Overlook Hotel). Starting their life over isn't easy as the ghosts of the Overlook Hotel won't leave poor Danny alone. After a frightening encounter with woman from Room 217, Dick teaches young Danny how to put those unwanted spirits into a "locked box" and store it away forever.
After the death of his mother, Danny (known to most as Dan) has become an alcoholic just like his father, but for him the alcohol is the only thing that can numb his shining (telepathic abilities, including seeing the dead). Things get worse for Dan after a one nightstand with a junkie and an odd encounter with her son. He moves every little bit, not wanting to stay in one place for very long, taking any job he can get.
Luckily, things do turn around for Dan, as he finally quits drinking and enters AA. His years of drifting is over and he take a steady job at a nursing home in Teenytown, New Hampshire, where he quickly earns the nickname "Doctor Sleep", as he helps the dying find comfort before their passing.
Out-of-nowhere, random messages are mysteriously written on the blackboard in Dan's room. This continues for years with Dan using his shining to reply to the messenger, who happens to be the young Abra Stone. The young girl also has the shining, but only stronger. Even though they have never met, she refers to him as Uncle Dan.
Dan finally meets the Abra when she is twelve-years-old, as she fears a group of supernatural beings known as the True Knots are coming for her. The True Knot are quasi=immortal and they keep themselves alive by feeding off of the steam that can only come from children with the shining. Dan is the girl's only hope of stopping these beings from feeding on her. All of which will lead back to where things all began, the grounds of the former Overlook Hotel.
I was surprised when Stephen King announced his sequel to the classic The Shining and I was sort of worried it would become another Black House, but I'm glad to say Doctor Sleep is one of King's greatest novels. I was originally hoping to reread The Shining (I haven't read it since I was in high school), but it simply slipped my mind. With an intriguing book jacket, I turned to the first page and was surprised to see King picking up almost directly where the original ended for the first twenty pages. Another shock (at least for me), is to learn Danny was plagued by the madness that took his father - alcohol. Feeling of sadness came over me as I learned of the aftermath the Overlook Hotel caused for poor Danny. The True Knot are the creepiest villains ever to appear in print. Overall, I loved reading Doctor Sleep and I hope it gets made into a feature film; maybe even make it as a direct sequel to the 1980 film.
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