The Shining – Stephen King.
I am one of those (read very few) guys who gets frightened very easily, I still haven’t forgotten the memory of “Evil Dead”, “Exorcist” and unforgettable movies like “Psycho” which had given me sleepless weeks. I haven’t yet seen one Horror movie on big screen except Psycho which I will not call Horror but at best a damn good thriller :). I believe I have a very fragile heart and I don’t want to die of a heart attack anyways. Plus to top it off – I bloody work in a graveyard shift and it is indeed a task for me to go to office basement parking (at times level 3 or 4 too) to get my car at times like 3 – 3.30 AM. So you see, I indeed deserve a sort of bravery award to not only read this brilliant book by Mr. King but I ended up seeing the movie again too today :). It all started with people talking about terrific books written by Mr. King in so many Facebook groups (I am unfortunately a member of at least three) and then as a cherry on cake, last week I came across a teenager on a train reading a King book :(. I actually asked him as he was almost half the way, “Hows it?” and he said with shining eyes “too good, have you read it?” and I shamefully couldn’t confess to him that I had no guts to read one of his works but that was that. Came home, gathered all my guts, asked my colleague if she isn’t going on leave for a week at a stretch, checked with home security guard on night duty that I will see him everyday for the whole week in our building lobby. And as they all promised to keep up with me, I picked this up last week and finished it and as you are reading this, I am still alive :).
I guess I had seen the movie “The Shining” by Stanley Kubrick half a dozen years back but I still remember the terrific background score, those bloody blood thirsty eyes of Jack Nicholson, cute kid Danny and not so beautiful wife Wendy (at least in movie) rather she looked hideous 😉 and superb Halloran, the man with a little shine. As I set up to read the book, though the story and handling is a bit different in Book and Movie but both hold up pretty good on their own. Loved the book totally as the characters of not only Jack (the crazy) his beautiful wife Wendy and Danny the kid plus his imaginary friend Tony are simply superbly carved out. This is one of those very few books wherein reader feels so helpless that I actually kept asking, why was Jack doing what he was doing and I so much wished I could actually help them in some way :). Story of Jack, who loses his job as a school teacher after an incident, they have no option but to move to a secluded hotel “Overlook” as caretaker in Colorado (no mans land for six months of winter). He gets it easily as referred by one of his very close friends (you’ve got to read his story too) who happens to be a big shot. But right from the very start, we know that there is something very wrong not only with Jack but even his cute Kid Danny too has some special power or say vision. How and what he does with it is simply mind-blowing, chilling and almost nerve wracking (at least for me it was). Why he gets the job so easily and what happened to the previous caretaker and his family adds up to the suspense and drama as it unfolds. Unfortunately the pace is so damn good as I guess all Mr. King books, no doubts on that, that its just unputdownable. I for so many reasons kept taking a break now and then to digest what was going on and had to take care of myself too.
While I was going through their story in secluded hotel with 100s of empty rooms with one room having a bloody weird story of itself. It was too tough for me to walk the corridors I have to take every night without feeling Jack’s presence in it, opening the washroom door and being their alone, waiting for someone to barge in the room with a huge wooden Hammer and turn me to pulp is what kept coming to my mind all the time. Also, of-course every-time I took the elevator ride to our third floor office I was scared to come across someone in the dead of the night and lets not even talk about how I walked up to my own apartment after getting dropped by my cabbies every night for last one week or so. Stephen King has left no stone unturned in making me an Atheist a firm believer :). Fortunately no one came with a wooden hammer to kill me and just as I thought that corridors and elevators was the only connection I had with Jack and his story when a day prior to my finishing the book I was reminded by my own colleague when I told her that the story revolves around a Room #217, she asked me “Do you know what is our office address?” and I actually freaked out that we bloody have been working in an office numbered 217 for last decade or so :D. But one thing I must mention that this book and the movie has finally made me a little brave I guess. And I am seriously considering reading some good Horrors in very near future. For now, I have picked up a PG Wodehouse book for a change so I can get over the memory of Jack Torrance :). If you have read this book and seen the movie – do let me know how you like it and is there a more horrifying book than this one? that you would like to recommend especially if it happens to be from a someone called Mr. Stephen King? be my guest 🙂 I would love to give it a try too.