The Shining by Stephen King

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Rate: 4.5/5

Medium: Audiobook

Overview (No Spoilers):

Some reviews I find more difficult to write in comparison to others, with no real rhyme or reason as to the source of this procrastination. Alas, The Shining has fallen into this aforementioned black hole for inspiration. Usually when feeling this way toward a review, I would either put off writing the post for another day or I start writing bullet points until I work through my slow start. Do any of my fellow talented, wonderful bloggers also occasionally struggle writing reviews? What are your tricks to overcoming this hurdle?

With that preface setting the tone, its now time to implement my own strategies with regard to tackling this review for my third King book of 2017. As with my reread of It, this was my second time picking up The Shining, which I’d first read in my early teens. Interestingly, if you would have asked me early last week if I’d ever watched the famous movie adaption I would have adamantly claimed to have never seen it. However during my reread I found myself waiting in vain for multiple iconic scenes to take place in the book, e.g., twins, hedge maze, “All work and no play…”. Upon finishing this creepy novel sans the key events, I realized at some point I must have actually watched the movie in question. With that being said, I could hardly bear to stop listening to this novel, even sitting in my car upon arriving at my destination to finish out a chapter. My interest grew in seemingly direct correlation to the Jack’s mental instability and the unexplained events occurring within the isolated hotel. King is an absolute master in capturing how characters think and their internal dialogue, allowing the reader to feel as though they intimately understand how and why a character makes certain decisions or actions. Overall, The Shining was well worth revisiting as an adult, with the premise as a whole easily capturing the reader’s imagination, while leaving them with a bit of their own cabin fever as a result of the isolated setting.

Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • Will Danny retain his shining abilities into adulthood? How will this traumatic past haunt him or Wendy?
  • Does Tony grow up as Danny grows up? Will Danny grow to have anger issues?
  • Will the hotel be rebuilt? Since Dick was influenced in the shed at the end of the book it seems as though some evil entity was kicking on the property?
  • Was the property evil before the hotel was even built there, similar to Derry, Maine in It? Or did the many evil acts cause the site to be evil?
  • Is the Derwent family still involved with the hotel somehow? Why the secret?
  • How did Mr. Ullman handle the news of the hotel’s demise? How did Al Shockly?
  • How did Wendy and Dick answer any police questioning regarding the hotel and Jack?
  • Why did Wendy not seem all that impacted by the hotel until the end?



  1. I have three or four books that I read a while ago that I still can’t write the reviews for. It’s usually better if I make a list of my thoughts because I have a tendency to forget what happened in a book, but it’s not helping for those few. Sometimes having a deadline helps me. Sometimes I have to write through the block, which sometimes works. I sometimes change the “formula” for writing the review to accommodate my thoughts better. Example: I focused mostly on a bullet point list for Paradises Lost. Other times I work on other blogging projects.

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  2. This is one of my favorite works by King. The portrait of Jack’s descent into madness makes the book hard to put down at times. (I’ve not listened to the audio version, but based on your review, sounds like it really grabs you as well!).

    King has written a sequel to The Shining that answers some of the bullet points you raise. I won’t give anything away, except to say that Dr. Sleep (the sequel) is a very different novel from The Shining, but I still enjoyed reading it.

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  3. Great review. Never read the book but found the movie to be one of the most spine chilling I’d ever seen. As for writing reviews–not only writer’s block, but doubt creeps in. My last published review actually had three versions, one for each of my blogs and one for Midwest Book Review.

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  4. Yep. Definitely have trouble writing reviews sometimes – especially if it’s a book I loved. Don’t really have any strategies other than blocking out a specific time to actually do it and not let myself do anything else until it’s done.

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  5. I’ve never read anything by Steven King but this one is on my list. I’m looking forward to reading something different than my norm.

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  6. I’m very new to Stephen King novels, and decided to start with Different Seasons, his collection of short stories. They’re just the right level of creepy and gory for me; I’m really not one for the horror genre so I don’t know how far into my pursuit of King I will get. I highly doubt The Shining will be on my list!

    Usually when I’m stuck for inspiration when writing reviews, I read other people’s reviews to see if they had similar feelings to mine – it generally helps to jog my memory and create a fully formed opinion in my head!

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  7. Now i don’t think I’ve read the book, but I KNOW i’ve watched the movie. How interesting that you listened to it in audio form, how long did it take?

    Oh, and when I’m putting off writing a review, I try to find a cozy place with my laptop to write it in, I find this helps propel me to finish it 🙂

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  8. Think it’s time I buy this book! 🙂 I’ve been meaning to review a book for a few weeks now – it’s one of my favourites but I just can’t get round to it – and I review a book about once every month, 2 month, so I’ve no idea how you manage it 🙂

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  9. When I can’t write a review, I just concentrate on writing my little “synopsis” part of the review. Once I get through that, it is like the engine is primed and I’m raring to go.
    And if I still don’t want to write, I’ll write 2 sentences and then just let it go.

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  10. I read this book for the first time a couple of years ago. I was really struck by how distinctly Gothic the novel was in terms of genre (remote, sublime location, troubling history, bad father figures). I really like it, though in my mind I have to treat it as a distinct thing from Kubrick’s film. They’re both great, but radically different in certain ways. I cannot believe Jack in the film even remotely likes his family, let of loves them, and I get the sense that was intentional.

    I had trouble reviewing it as well. In fact, I didn’t. I opted to write a post that was more of a commentary on the story and my experience with it, rather than a formal review. I don’t like how that post turned out though, looking back.

    I still find myself having trouble reviewing some books for one reason or another, whether I don’t feel I have much to say on it or the book itself is such a classic that I sometimes wonder “Why bother?” At that point I push myself to review them anyway, and I often find that the end result turns out much better than I had anticipated.

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    • Thanks for the advice Ryan! I was surprised to read that King really disliked the Kubrick’s film. I do agree that they should be treated separately. I’m glad I’m not the only one that suffers from Blogging Blocks occasionally!

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  11. I used to absolutely love Stephen King and read quite a few of his books; I think The Shining was the scariest of his books for me.
    I struggle to write reviews sometimes too; when a book was just ok; it wasn’t bad so you don’t have any problems to highlight, but there isn’t anything about it to gush about either =s

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  12. I actually ran into this with the last review I queued up. Like, c’mon self! Give me something to work with! I try to write notes while I’m reading, but it’s not always easy to remember. I haven’t read The Shining yet, but I’m definitely planning on picking it up at some point!

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  13. Sarah, you finally got back to some of my interests! Nice review. If you’re interested in knowing what happens to Dany, read King’s Doctor Sleep. Also, there was a made for TV movie version of The Shining that followed the book better than Kubrick’s version (however, I loved Kubrick’s version too).

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    • Hello Salina! Thank you! Before this post I hadn’t realized there was a sequel. I will really need to look into Doctor Sleep. I can definitely appreciate Kubrick’s version as an adaption however I found it interesting to read that King absolutely disliked his version.


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