Book review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King(Hodder & Stoughton)
In the afterward of this book – don’t worry, no spoilers – Stephen King talks about the perils of writing a sequel to what people still perceive as one of the scariest books ever written.

And, of course, along with being scary (as in Redrum, Redrum! scary) The Shining – the book as well as the Stanley Kubric film adaptation – is deeply entrenched in popular culture and, dare I say the communal subconscious.

Doctor Sleep catches up with the storyline of the first book, and not the more depressing ending of the “Here’s Johnny” film that won nominated for two Oscars.

For those of you who didn’t read The Shining, *spoiler alert* little Danny’s father actually saves him and his mom Wendy in the end. With most of Stephen King’s books, a weird sort of redemption was found.

At least for John Torrance.

*end of spoiler alert*

In Doctor Sleep we meet up with Danny Torrance who, despite being all grown up, still hasn’t found peace after his traumatic childhood and the living nightmare that was The Overlook Hotel.

Danny Torrance still has elements of The Shining – that special power, or curse as he thinks of it – but he is doing his best to drown it with booze. So when we re-enter Dan’s life, it’s when he hits rock bottom.

While Dan is clawing his way to a normal life, a life where he might lay down his demons and help those in need a sinister group of mobile home dwelling old folks – calling themselves the True Knot – is hightailing it up and down America looking for kids with The Shining.

When Dan “meets” Abra through their special powers, he soon realises that he has to save this little girl from the horrible monsters who want to steal her life, powers and very soul.

Stephen King knits this story, that is sometimes beautiful, sometimes repulsive, but always full of heart, with the skill and empathy he is known for.

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