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The Shining

Good god, I understand why my professor was mad. I clearly did not read this book enough for discussions in class.

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. When Jack Torrance loses his job, he pulls some favors to become the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in Colorado. But the hotel is old, and there are many ghosts within the walls.

It makes me ridiculously uncomfortable that a white author felt the need to traumatize his only black character in the way he did. Also, the blatant racism, the n-word with a hard r, and the stereotypes were fucking ridiculous.

There’s a conversation happening right now on BookTok around Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and where it’s appropriate for white authors to write BIPOC characters. I think that discussion would be useful here as well, because the way King writes Hallorann is despicable and absolutely not his place. I know this book was written in, what, 1977? But that’s no excuse.

There’s also a lot of blatant misogyny. The way Wendy is characterized, and the way that even the dead woman in the tub is described, disgusts me. I don’t want to hear about how her rotting breast looks, or the gross ways Wendy is objectified even in her own chapters. This is why I don’t read books by men, because these bastards have never met a real woman in their life, and it fucking shows.

Every man I took the class with, where we read this book, should go straight to jail. They chose to die on the hill defending Jack as a character, even after we learned a bunch of horrible shit about him. For example, he fucking comes out and says that he can empathize and relate to his character that is a literal pedophile and child rapist? What the fuck? Why did these grown ass men in my class feel the need to tell us that Jack deserved a redemption arc or some bullshit? He’s a terrible person, and the way these men acted makes me think that they can be just as bad, which is horrifying.

Also I hate the way that King essentially has his characters absolve Jack of all wrongdoing because it wasn’t him! It was the hotel! No. Abso-fucking-lutely not. Jack was a terrible human being long before he got possessed. Even before he got to the hotel, even when he believed he was trying to be different, he was convincing himself that he didn’t do anything wrong. Bad things happened to him, and he did his best, or what the fuck ever. It’s horrible, and I’m so mad I read it.

I loved Danny, though. He was so sweet, and while I don’t really understand the devotion to his Dad, but it is what it is. I’m so angry that he grew up to be an alcoholic too, but I will still watch that movie for Ewan McGregor.

Considering I’ve finally gotten all of my thoughts out, I’m going to cut my initial review in half. I originally gave this book 3 stars, but with my thoughts out on the page… I really need to learn to wait a little bit after finishing my books to decide what I want to rate it. Especially before I put it down in ink in my bullet journal…

Trigger warnings: addiction (alcohol), alcohol, animal death (the wasps), blood, child abuse, cursing, death, fire/fire injury, gore, animal cruelty (the wasps), misogyny (King’s), pregnancy (discussed), suicide attempt, ableism, alcoholism, body horror, emotional abuse, excrement, grief, injury/injury detail, murder, pedophilia (the dog man), physical abuse, racism, racial slurs (anti-Black), self-harm, sexual content, toxic relationship, violence, vomit, body shaming, car accident, death of a parent, domestic abuse

Did I like? Not really.

Recommend? Absolutely not. The movie would be enough.


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