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Something Like a Review – Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

It’s no surprise that when this book came out, I snapped it up at my local brick and mortar (albeit big chain) book store. I wanted it. Had to have it, but I was skeptical. I felt content that Danny Torrence got his deserved “happily ever after” when the smoke cleared and the therapy was concluded and perhaps after his hefty share of mood-altering drugs. I mean, it would be only fair after you lived through that kind of hell in the snowy Colorado mountains, right?

I bought it even though I was trepidatious, and I didn’t really have any concrete expectations of the book, which is probably a good thing. I’d read little bits and pieces of information about it, and it was enough that I thought I’d be able to engross myself in it while on vacation.

I’m glad I didn’t have any expectations; they probably would not have been met.

Doctor Sleep was not a bad book. It had some really interesting angles and elements, but it just didn’t…work for me as a sequel to the life of Danny Torrence. Even with his past, I feel like this could easily have been another character with the same “shining” he had and the story would not have suffered from the change.  The only thing I can think that might have changed my perception of the book was how long ago I read The Shining. While it wasn’t that far back that I don’t remember it, it’s far gone enough that I don’t vividly remember most scenes. Don’t get me wrong, the book left enough scars on my brain that they won’t ever be gone and I get chills thinking about spending a week in the Stanley Hotel (more about that later), but you readers will understand. I know, I remember, but they are the slightly sunbleached memories of paper decorations left too long in a window.

The True Knot’s pursuit of and acquisition of steam was great, and I liked precocious little Abra as much as I liked Danny when he was little. Danny seemed real, and genuinely a kid of a traumatic childhood, but in a sense, it felt like he was living the epilogue to his father’s life. The sins of the father, so to speak. His challenges were great, his guilt and his demons his own, but it just felt like something was missing from this book, though I don’t think *what* is something that can be defined. It was a pretty quick read for me, partly because the story is King’s typical ramp from the mundane into a crescendoing race for your life, and partly because I was invested in knowing what happened to Danny and how it all worked out in the end. I liked the book, but I didn’t love it and for a devout King fan-girl like me, that’s saying something.

Medium: Dead-tree version from brick-and-mortar store. 

Other: Available in various formats from Amazon.com

Overall rating: 3 stars

Potential re-read: Maybe. When I have time, I may re-read The Shining and then go right into this one to see if it changes my perception of the book.

Dead-tree worthy?: As a collector of Stephen King books, yes. As a reader, this is a hefty volume to house when one is not in love with it. It’s hard to say. “Maybe” is the best, most clear answer I can give. YMMV.

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