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{Review} Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

by Stephen King
Published by Simon and Schuster on September 2013
Genres: Horror, Supernatural
Format: Audiobook
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This audiobook was read by Will Patton, none other than the beautifully raspy voiced Colonel Dan Weaver from Falling Skies! I love that show. Wish more people would watch it. His voice makes you feel like everything will be okay.

Patton does some wonderful things with this work, breathing life into the characters and always managing to suck me back into things if I started to drift a little (sorry, it’s King, one can’t help but drift and if you deny it, well your undies are probably on fire). I wish Patton could narrate all the books I want to read on audio. I cannot lie. I freely admit that my rating may have been compromised because of that man’s magical voice.

As most, if not all, of you know this is the sequel to The Shining. But this book is really nothing like The Shining. And that’s okay. Danny Torrance is all grown up and he’s a bit of a mess. I suppose I might be too if I grew up seeing the terrible things he’s seen. In order to turn down his “shining” and shut out the ghosts, he’s taken up drinking. Dan’s life has not been easy and drinking has only made things more difficult. He hits a low after a drinking binge and his action and inaction will forever haunt him. He eventually learns to use his powers for the good and works in an assisted living facility where he is known as Doctor Sleep because he is able to ease the dying into the hereafter but every day is a struggle against his addiction. This depiction felt extremely real and honest and was painful to read.

When a young girl named Abra with incredible “shining” powers comes screaming into his life, he becomes her mentor and finds himself entangled in a battle with a nefarious enemy who call themselves the “True Knot”. The True Knot torture and suck out the essence of children with the shining. They bottle it up and inhale it to stay immortal but their supply is running low and they are succumbing to human disease . . .

To be honest, these True Knot loons didn’t scare me all that much. Now this loon?

This loon scares me at a bone deep level.

The True Knot were unique, horrible and selfish but in such bad shape that they didn’t scare me. Maybe if we’d met up with them at their strongest I might’ve felt differently. As written they were kind of lame and Abra is described as having incredible shining power. So much so that from the beginning, I never truly believed the True Knot steam sucking nutzos would stand a chance against her and that’s all I’m saying.

Doctor Sleep is eerie and suspenseful, with strong characterization and shocking moments of sadness and death but I didn’t find it flat out terrifying as I did The Shining. I did enjoy seeing what became of little Danny Torrance and I felt for him and his plight with Abra (abracadabra – sorry but that’s all I could hear in my head whenever someone said the poor child’s name). It was a terrific sequel that didn’t let me down and definitely worth a listen on audio.

About Stephen King

Author Photo Stephen King

Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father’s family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen’s grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men’s magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale (“The Glass Floor”) to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men’s magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

Laurie

Scary books make everything so much better! I've been reading them since I was a wee, weird little thing and grew up with a steady diet of King, Koontz, Barker, and Brite and will read and watch anything with a hint of darkness.

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