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The Shining, The Book Behind the Movie

Updated on February 26, 2018

The Shining

The Shining

I read this years after seeing the movie a number of times, and I'm happy to say that like many of his other titles that have been made into movies, Stephen King impressed me every step of the way. If you have ever heard of his opinion of this film, I'm sure you know that he was not at all pleased with Stanley Kubrick's adaptation. And like me, I'm sure you probably wondered why. Well, having just written my first novel myself, I am certain that any author who has put his or her all into developing characters with such depth, would cry when seeing them altered so drastically. Yes, it's true, the characters in the movie reflect nothing of who they are in the book, or how they connect and relate to one another.

First of all, the movie throws you into the fray without any understanding of who the lead character (Jack Nicholson/ Jack Torrance) is, or what has lead to him to taking up the job as caretaker of the Overlook hotel. It also does a very poor portrayal of his wife (Wendy Torrance), who is shown as being almost totally helpless and afraid. This was one of the things I believe annoyed Stephen King the most. Also, the actual gift of 'the Shining,' was not accurately depicted in the movie, where Danny's imaginary friend 'Tony,' is relegated to a twitching finger as opposed to having an actual presence in the book. A number of other characters are either completely left out or given the most fleeting of appearances. The most obvious difference for me is the lead role. In the movie this is given to and totally dominated by the already famous Jack Nicholson, whereas in the book, the Overlook itself is the main character.

To summarize what would otherwise be a lengthy article let me just say this; every question that you had after watching the movie is answered in great detail in the book. You see the events that lead up to Jack landing the job at the hotel in the first place, as well as what lead to the strained relationship between him and his wife. There are stark differences beyond just the characters' personas, such as the entire ending, and the story behind the Overlook itself, which is lightly brushed over in a two minute interview in the movie. These I will not discuss to avoid spoiling anything for you. All in all, one fantastic book! Stephen King is a master at his craft, and what he does like no other author is get you to connect with his characters. I assure you that if you liked the movie, you are going to go absolutely crazy over this book.

My next article will be on Doctor Sleep, the sequel to the Shining (yes believe it!) that came more than 35 years later. Thank you and keep reading!

© 2018 Joseph B Daniel


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