Doctor Sleep: The Tragic Yet Uplifting Life Danny Torrence
Dr. Sleep by Stephen King
So I have always been a bit of a Stephen King Critic. As a child, he was declared as the master of horror in the writing world. And I love the horror genre. I always loved Halloween, grew up on horror movies, and even helped out in the family ran neighborhood haunted house on Halloween. It’s a genre I really love. So after all the hype I heard growing up, I was quite disappointed when I finally read Stephen King. Many of his books bore me, and the extremely unlikable characters do a real good job of pushing me away as well. I would say for every ten I don’t like, there will be one I absolutely love. It’s a pretty bad hit and miss ratio, but those hits are some home runs that are just perfect for me. But because these are so rare. I typically don’t pursue King’s work. Then I saw this trailer for a new film coming out called Dr. Sleep and it looked fascinating. It looked fresh, different, and very original. And even though my history with King’s work is rocky, I decided to check it out. It just seemed like a tale too unique to ignore. So here is my review of Dr. Sleep by Stephen King.
So what is it about? Well first of all, it is the sequel to The Shining. It follows Danny Torrence through a good chunk of his life. He struggles with his psychic abilities (known as the shining) of visions, seeing ghosts, and whole host of random things he can’t make sense of. So much that late in his teenage years, he follows into his father’s footsteps of alcoholism. He spends years drifting from place to place with short term jobs or homeless as a black out drunk. But after doing something terrible from his drunken behavior, he moves to a small town and begins a fresh start where he battles his alcoholism. He begins to pull his life together and comes to terms with the shining and how to handle it. During this, he meets a girl named Abra. She has the shining too and is much more powerful than him. But some people are after her. They call themselves the True Knot. They are nomadic vampires who have been around for centuries feeding on children with the shinning. Danny decides to help her.
So what is good? This is an excellent character study of Danny Torrence. He is essentially a broken man when this begins and as he picks up the pieces and puts himself back together. It’s hard not to like him. He's quite possibly the most likable character King has put on paper and the tragedy of everything he missed during his years of alcoholism does pull at the heart strings at various points. And to see how far he comes is just rewarding for the reader. I absolutely loved his journey. When he has to step up to be a hero and ultimately find his place in the world, it was just so well done. This book was not what I was expecting, but it was such a wonderful surprise. Also the lead vampire is very developed. I liked Rose the Hat and she felt like determined leader of a cult than a monster. It made a real opponent for Danny and Abra.
The bad? Well I’m going to be blunt. It isn’t scary. I know I mention King's books disappoint me because they don’t scare me. But this doesn’t even try. This is a supernatural fantasy drama at its heart. The vampires come to play late into the main story and there is little action or horror. This book is more in line with The Dead Zone than anything else King had done. And as it is the sequel to The Shining, I think people may want something more than a drama. Also this book is slow paced. Seeing the subject matter, it seems fitting, but when the vampires show up the pace speeds up quite a bit in the last third. It was little jarring to jump from slow burn to a rush to the end.
Overall, this is a fantastic book. I daresay this may be the best book he ever written. I really loved it. It’s a great character study of Danny Torrence and a fascination read. This is a must read. Now go out and read it.
4 smoothies out of four
Overall Rating: The Tragic Yet Uplifting Life Danny Torrence