Doctor Sleep- a review

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Doctor Sleep

by Stephen King

published by Scribner

2013

Summary

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon. (from Goodreads)

My Review

As you know Doctor Sleep is King’s long awaited sequel to The Shining.  I was lucky enough to have read this book immediately after reading The Shining, so the story of Danny Torrance was fresh in my mind.  While The Shining scared me quite a bit, I am happy to say I was never as frightened while reading Doctor Sleep.  Other than that small difference, I enjoyed the sequel just as much as I did the first.  Doctor Sleep brings us back to Danny Torrance-now Dan- as a middle aged man who has struggled his entire life.  Just when he thinks he has hit rock bottom, literally and figuratively, he decides to make a change.  He stops drinking and drifting and settles down in a small New England town.  He works as a hospice care giver and has finally found some peace.  Then he meets a young girl, Abra Stone, who has the shining as well.  Together, they fight an evil that has set its sights on Abra.

This book was wonderful.  I love that King lets us know what happened to Dan.  It was wonderful to see him struggle through his problem and come out on the other side.  I loved the secondary characters and I thought the True Knot, the ancient beings that survive by killing youngsters with the shining, was a very bizarre twist. I especially loved the character of Rose the Hat.  When the story finally returns to the Overlook, King pulled all the loose ends together very nicely.  If you haven’t read The Shining in a very long time, it might help to do a quick reread, but I would definitely recommend Doctor Sleep.  Now I have to get myself some more King!!

Some great quotes from Doctor Sleep-

~“There came a time when you realized that moving on was pointless. That you took yourself with you wherever you went.”

~“Death was no less a miracle than birth.”

~“There’s nothing to be scared of.”
Instead of taking Charlie’s pulse – there was really no point – he took one of the old man’s hands in his. He saw Charlie’s wife pulling down a shade in the bedroom, wearing nothing but the slip of Belgian lace he’d bought her for their first anniversary; saw how the ponytail swung over one shoulder when she turned to look at him, her face lit in a smile that was all yes. He saw a Farmall tractor with a striped umbrella raised over the seat. He smelled bacon and heard Frank Sinatra singing ‘Come Fly with Me’ from a cracked Motorola radio sitting on a worktable littered with tools. He saw a hubcap full of rain reflecting a red barn. He tasted blueberries and gutted a deer and fished in some distant lake whose surface was dappled by steady autumn rain. He was sixty, dancing with his wife in the American Legion hall. He was thirty, splitting wood. He was five, wearing shorts and pulling a red wagon. Then the pictures blurred together, the way cards do when they’re shuffled in the hands of an expert, and the wind was blowing big snow down from the mountains, and in here was the silence and Azzie’s solemn watching eyes.” 
― Stephen KingDoctor Sleep

my rating

4.5 out of 5

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9 thoughts on “Doctor Sleep- a review

  1. Great quotes you chose, especially the last. Can’t wait to read this one, Kerri. He’s the master, that’s for sure.
    I’m curious what held you back from giving it the last half star – did it disappoint in some small way?

    • Thinking back, I held back because the whole “True Knot” wasn’t really explained or fleshed out well. At the end of the book, I was still a bit unsure as to what they were. Since this is only mu second King book, I am not sure if he purposely does that- leaving things a little unexplained. If it is, I might owe him that 1/2 star back!

  2. I’m so glad you enjoyed Doctor Sleep! I really thought it was wonderful too — and was also very happy to have read it right after The Shining. Stephen King is such a master — can’t wait to see what he does next!

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