Stone Cold Sober

16130549Doctor Sleep by
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

I’d like to thank Kemper and Will and Dan and Delee and Trudi for pretty much doing my job for me and writing such excellent reviews that I don’t even have to offer up one of my own. Ha, you crazy bastards, who would I be if I let you off that easily?

King might just be one crazy son of a bitch for calling this a sequel to THE SHINING (I should probably add here that I have never read said novel) when it’s about as much of a sequel as the James Bond films are to one another (especially the Pierce Brosnan versus Daniel Craig versions). But I love him anyway, even if I didn’t exactly love this novel. Sure, this is vintage King where the man breathes and breathes across pages and pages of exposition and dialogue and prose and where the number of characters could fill a village and where the man knows evil so well he can pull it out of a hat as easily as a rabbit, a frog, or a Siamese cat.

Even though I was stone cold sober when I started DOCTOR SLEEP, I felt as though I had imbibed a few by the end of the story, passed out, and was revived with steam as a one-toothed raven-haired beauty breathed into my mouth. Had the steam not done the trick, I might have passed out all over again. Dan Torrance swaggered and swayed his way through this novel (at least he made an effort to change), so I must say he wasn’t exactly my favorite character. Abra, on the other hand, proved every bit as precocious as her fourteen years allowed, and I rooted for her every step of the way.

The length proved a bit daunting at times as words upon words piled up, and there were so many characters that it was sometimes hard to keep track. It meandered and bobbed and weaved and bounced along more than a few backcountry roads. We switched time zones, and we nearly switched coasts, and I found myself staring at a plaque from the Overlook Hotel. For a brief moment, I felt as though my entire universe had been stripped away right in front of me.

Stephen King has no equal…in punctuation. He punctuates and paragraph breaks like no other writer I’ve seen before, and he does it with such dexterity and effortless ease. He must have taken a punctuation class that no other writer in the entire universe was privy to. In the end, that’s okay (not that he needs my approval), and I applaud him on his uniqueness. It’s probably safe to say that I could decipher a Stephen King novel based on punctuation and paragraph breaks alone.

Even if the master may have backed off a step or two on his game, he’s still well ahead of the rest of us mere mortals. It’s certainly not a bad read, but on the other hand, I wouldn’t say it’s one of his best efforts either.

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