This is the third novel in my personal Stephen-King-a-thon challenge. I first read this novel when I was fifteen years old. It was also the first Stephen King novel I ever read. I came back to this book to re-read it as a twenty-seven year old excited and convinced I would gain more from the book as an adult. And I was right. What was simply a horror story about a haunted hotel when I was a teenager became much more as an adult. The horror was still there but so was the haunting psychological terror of the ghosts of our pasts invading our presents, the torture of memories we think we can escape and the people we hope we'll never become.
Danny Torrence is five years old. He knows things that no child should have access to. He knows his parents were considering Divorce, that his father has a drink problem. And he knows that there's something horrifying behind the beautiful facade of The Overlook Hotel. Danny's father, Jack has got a job as winter caretaker of The Overlook. He needs this job - his last one didn't end so well - plus the distance from the real world will give him plenty of time to finish the play he's been working on. And so he packs up his wife and kid and drives high up into the Colorado mountains where once the snow comes, there's no going back. They will be stuck there until the snows thaw.
But five year old Danny has the 'shining', a rare ability to sense things, to read minds, to see the dark images that play out in The Overlook. His vivid dreams and psychic trances reveal the dark secrets The Overlook has kept hidden for decades. Who is the creepy dead woman in Room 217? What is that blood stain on the wall of the presidential suite? Who is riding up and down in the elevator at night? And just how do those topiary animals move around on their own?
'The Shining' is a chilling read, not overtly scary but it definitely raises the hairs on your arms. It has much more substance than most horror novels out there and really defines Stephen King as the forerunner of the genre.