Monday, March 30, 2015

The Stand by Stephen King

“Show me a man or a woman alone and I'll show you a saint. Give me two and they'll fall in love. Give me three and they'll invent the charming thing we call 'society'. Give me four and they'll build a pyramid. Give me five and they'll make one an outcast. Give me six and they'll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they'll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.” 
- Stephen King, The Stand

Another adventure with the product of Stephen King's brilliant mind has come to an end.  It took me nearly a month to read The Stand cover to cover, the complete and uncut edition, all 1141 pages of it.  It was the longest book I have ever read by far but undoubtedly a reading worth every minute of it. 

I've amassed quite a collection of Stephen King's books. I can't help it, I am drawn to this man's genius and his hidden darkness.  Some I have bought new in the bookstore, many come from the thrift stores and some others are gifts from family members who know King is my favourite author.  I've read most of them but not all.  That will come with time.

The Stand has been sitting on my shelf for few years now, begging to be read.  I picked it up several times in the past but each time I put it away after about 100 pages or so.  There was something I was getting stuck on, a slow section if you may, and I kept losing interest in exactly the same spot.  It was quite frustrating because I really wanted to read this novel but it wouldn't be the first time that something like that happened to me.  I've read other excellent books that for some reason or another were slow to start, but once they took off I didn't know what was happening around me until I was finished reading. 

When I picked up The Stand again at the end of February, I promised myself that this time no matter what, I'll keep plugging on. I had to get past the point of no return.

For those that maybe haven't read the book or have not seen the movie, The Stand is a  post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel, written by Stephen King and set in 20th century US of A.  At a remote US army base, a weaponized strain of influenza is accidentally released and it triggers the plague which eventually kills 99.4% of world's population.  It also kills all the dogs and horses and other animals but spares the cats (as a kitty lover I had to put that in here).   Those "lucky" that survive the apocalypse, soon realize that the fight is far from over.  In fact, it has only just begun.

Overall the book was an excellent read.  Despite the speed bump near the start, (just my opinion, but I'm sure not everyone will feel this way), the story eventually picked up and developed into something incredibly captivating.  Each one of my days for the past month ended with this book in my hand and sometimes it resulted in a lost sleep because no matter how late it was I had to read few pages before heading off into the dreamland.

King's character development was superb as usual.  Some characters were adorable, some drew respect, some were annoying and some down right evil but they were all full of depth and held my attention when my attention was supposed to be held.  That means at all times.  The characters that ended up being my favourite were Fran Goldsmith, Stu Redman and Larry Underwood.

And then of course there was Randall Flagg.

I was quite surprised when I heard the name Randall Flagg mentioned because I remembered that name from the Dark Tower series.  Intrigued, I rushed to my bookshelf and grabbed one of the novels I've already read (I'm up to Wizard and Glass in this series) and sure enough, there was Randall Flagg just like I remembered.  I went back to the computer to google this and found out right there and then that Randall Flagg is the dark character that appears in King's nine different novels and The Stand was the the novel where Flagg has made his first appearance.  How awesome was that!  I absolutely love when the authors stick the same characters into seemingly unrelated novels.  Doing that connects the novels in a very special way and in addition gives the characters extra depth and intrigue.

I have to admit, now that I'm done with The Stand I already miss it.  For the past month it's been my loyal companion and I find it hard letting it go.  I've been picking it up and re-reading various parts of the book finding gems I have missed the first time around.  Just like a complicated movie masterpiece which has to be watched several times to pick up every single detail, this book has to be read over again to understand and capture everything it has to offer.

Now the only other thing left is to watch the movie.  I was thrilled to find out that a new adaptation of the novel is in the works and deservingly so it will be a four film series.  To make things even better Matthew McConaughey is the first pick for the Randall Flagg role which I think it's an excellent choice.  Can't wait for this to come out.



  1. There was a time when all I read was Stephen King. What a talented writer! I once read where he got the Idea for 'The Shining' from a vacation he took. He was one of the last visitors of the season and they were about to close the hotel for the winter season. He took that and ran with it.

  2. This is one of my all time favorite books. I try to read it once a year because I love it so much and always find new things to love in it. So glad you stuck with it!

  3. I've never read anything by Stephen King. I tried to watch "The Fog" but didn't get through it. However, this book sounds like it's more aligned with my interests. I will have to get a copy.

  4. Hello Kamyria...Isn't it wonderful getting lost in a good book? Traveling to places we otherwise would not be able to visit? Reading is such a gift. Thank you so much for your visits, too! Susan