Overview (No Spoilers):
After the overwhelming response to my book review for It, I took the advice of my fellow readers and picked up their most recommended book by Stephen King, The Stand. Let me first set the scene prior to starting the novel in question. I had no clue as to the subject matter of which I would soon be immersed and I very rarely every get sick, and if I do, I’m usually better in short order. Unfortunately, last week I came down with quite a nasty summer flu, e.g., fever, chills, coughing, sneezing. Therefore, imagine my amusement as The Stand is, at least for the first 10 hours of the audiobook, about the world contracting a super flu, with special emphasis on the initial symptoms that coincidently were lining up suspiciously with how awful I was feeling during reading! Moreover, The Stand took an interesting turn into the religious realm, which added a mysterious, supernatural element to the story line. I quickly became absorbed in this novel, beyond curious where King was headed with this storyline, unfortunately throughout the second half of the book I felt as though I was listening to pawns moving at a snail’s pace, waiting for the grand finale of a battle to finally take place. Once moved into position alas, the ending seemed lackluster in comparison to the amount of time expended toward establishing the good vs. evil components. On a side note, King mentions a town that is a mere 10 miles from where I grew up. Living in rural Michigan, I have never encountered a novel that even remotely passes through an area from my childhood. Needless to say I was giddy when I heard the characters pass through Kunkle, Ohio and Achbold, Ohio. Although, it was comically obvious King had never ventured to Kunkle, due to making references regarding its hospital and fairgrounds. Overall, The Stand is a highly entertaining tale that will cause the reader to continue to ponder long after completion, however it seemed to lack the depth and development, especially with regard to the ending, in contrast to my other favorite King novels.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- I felt like the book started going down hill for me after Mother Abagail wandered into the wilderness. The manner of the deaths seemed so pointless from here on out. Howard and Nadine’s deaths seemed so very anticlimactic and pointless in the bigger picture, as well as the overall final scene with the Trashcan Man. That specific climax had been being built up for two thirds of the book to have it all end by divine coincidence.
- Poor Howard! I so wanted him to redeem himself! I hated Nick’s death, which, at risk of sounding like a broken record seemed so trivial. The character development in The Stand was phenomenal, but alas, my issue lies in how the characters were eventually killed off.
- I loved the inclusion of Kojak! Especially how he kept coming back.
- King is always filled with good quotes. In The Stand, I particularly liked “Real love is silent as well as blind”
- I wanted Larry Underwood to sing “Baby can you dig your man?” one more time!
- What happens to Joe/Leo after Larry’s death?