Book #3. The Shining. First published January 28, 1977.
I've got a confession to make. The Shining is one of Stephen King's most fabled books. The story of Jack Torrance and his son Danny is one that that has echoed through the years, some would say more notoriously for the Stanley Kubrick film that tears the narrative apart and is often referred to by fans, and King himself, as a stand-alone story that has little to do with his original vision. I have to admit here that I really have no idea, because... well... I have never finished reading The Shining from cover to cover. Oh, I've tried a number of times. I have on at least five occasions picked up the book, started reading, and having got about a hundred pages in I lose interest, and move on to other things. I even 'cheated' on another occasion, and just went to the last forty pages and read them, so I actually knew how it finished without having to try and go through the whole reading of it again.
The question I often ask myself, and which you are probably asking me now, is firstly, why have I had such a problem with the book, and secondly, if I've had that problem on so many occasions, why would I try and do it again? The answer to the first question is most likely a combination of the way the family of Jack, Wendy and Danny are so dysfunctional, of the difficulty they facing in remaining as one unit, and the obvious tragedy that is about to happen up there in the snow. It is a difficult start to the book, one that no doubt comes from King's heart, and the nature of storyline is lain bare for the reader. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that you know this isn't going to end well, and that this three person family is going to be mightily fractured by its conclusion. A lot of King's books have these storylines running through them, but my difficulty in closing the deal seems to hit a roadblock each time I try to push on through. The answer to the second part of that question is the reason I am doing this at all. I want to have read all of King's works, and by moving through chronologically, and reviewing as I go, I can't really back out can I? Thus this should ensure that I break my duck here with The Shining, and, for better or for worse, I should know the full story of the Torrance family's winter from hell by the end.