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"Doctor Sleep" is the sequel to the book; not the movie.This is an important fact that Stephen King shares in his author’s notes. Although, I am a fan of both the movie and the first book, Stephen King makes it clear that if you want the true story of the Torrance family you need to read the “Shining,” published in 1977, and then you will enjoy the sequel, “Doctor Sleep,” that much more.
Little Danny Torrance was only five when he became an iconic character in one of the scariest books ever written; and the ethereal haunted Overlook hotel, room 217, “Redrum,” and his possessed and murderous, alcoholic father, Jack, will be forever remember in literary history.
In “Doctor Sleep,” Danny is grown up; he works in a small New England town as a hospice worker and has the special ability to help patients come to terms with their deaths. Given his history its no wander, like his father, Jack, he is an alcoholic; but is trying to cope with his addiction by attending AA meetings. Alcoholism is very prevalent in this book, as it was in the first book of this series; in fact its diminished exploration in the movie, “The Shining,” by Stanley Kubrick, is one of the many reasons Stephen King was not a big fan of the movie, as he struggled with his own challenges with alcohol addiction during that time.
Danny is still psychic, although his abilities have weakened with age and its obvious when he comes in contact with Abra Stone, a girl who, at the age of twelve, has not yet fully tapped into her powers.
The young girl, is in danger, and she needs Danny’s help to keep her safe from a group, called The True Knot, that feed off of psychic powers; particularly children.
“Doctor Sleep is more than just a sequel, although it has roots to “The Shining,” this is a story that has its own wings; and boy does it fly.
If you’re wondering whether to purchase the text or the Audio version, the narrator of this audio book should make that an easy decision. Will Patton gives a spectacular performance and should not be missed.
223 of 244 people found this review helpful
I discovered Stephen King the summer I was 13 years old. I remember reading "The Shining" (1976), "'Salem's Lot" (1975), "Carrie" (1974), and "Night Shift" (1977) over a hot and humid week. When the weather broke one night with a spectacular summer thunderstorm, I woke up screaming, convinced that a long-dead priest was in my room.
Carrietta White and Danny Torrance psychic abilities - their shines - fascinated me. Wouldn't it be fun to make the tight Jordache jeans the tall blonde who was "going with" the boy I had a crush, on split the bottom of her jeans wide open, just as she tossed her perfectly feathered Farrah Fawcett hair? But Margaret White, Carrie's mother was a religious zealot; and Jack Torrance, Danny's father, was a raging alcoholic. Carrie and Danny didn't use their shine for fun, they used it because the people who loved them were murderous. Only Danny survived his childhood.
In 2001, about the time Danny is learning to become sober, Abra Stone is born into a family with two (mostly) normal parents and an adoring great grandmother. Abra shines, and shines brightly. Her parents realize it, and take an approach to the situation Andrew Solomon (Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, 2012) would approve of: they have a pediatrician observe her, confirm what they know - and love and support her.
Danny has a great evil to fight - alcoholism. He started drinking at 13. It dulls his shine, and considering what he does for a living - he's an orderly at hospices, and he helps people pass on, who could blame him? But, as any alcoholic knows, Danny drinks because he is a drunk. King has been sober for 26 years, and writes about Alcoholics Anonymous - 'the program' - with the passion, clear head, and understanding of someone who knows the program far deeper than being able to recite the Serenity Prayer from memory. King's description of Danny's longing for a drink at a dive bar with neon lights advertising $2 pitchers was so vivid, in one of the most narratively tense parts of Doctor Sleep, I found myself thinking, "Don't do it Danny, don't do it!"
Danny and Abra have another, prescient and cannabalistic evil to fight - Rose the Hat and "The True Knot," a band of seemingly ordinary people criss-crossing the United States in those spectacularly expensive RVs you sometimes see on long drives on the 10 West, heading into Arizona; or parked in a Walmart lot, easily taking up a dozen parking places. The people in them look normal - even dull - but . . . and Rose and the True Knot are very, very old - because they take something from children with the shine.
Would I have enjoyed Doctor Sleep as much as I did if I hadn't read "The Shining," or for that matter, "Carrie"? I think I might have liked it even more, because I would have been truly surprised by the Overlook Hotel/Lodge - and frightened by the ghosts, maybe as I was that long ago summer.
I'm giving the audio a 4, not because Will Patton isn't a fantastic narrator - he is. He's got the characters to a t. When he was Dick Hallorann, I actually saw Scatman Crothers from the 1980 movie "The Shining" in my mind. However, there's a small portion of the narrative that is difficult to follow as an audio book. It sorts itself out eventually, but that's why I knocked a point off.
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246 of 283 people found this review helpful