The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand by Stephen King

 

I just finished my first Stephen King novel! I thought that I had read one of his books before, but it seems I did not (I may have been thinking of a different author, like R.L. Stine). Apparently I’ve been living under a rock for years, because everyone and their mama seems to recommend The Stand. The honeyman saw the long-ass mini-series and loved it. I Instagrammed a picture of the book and turns out my aunt really liked it. My friend who has never mentioned it before was all “Oh yeah, it’s good, you could’ve borrowed my copy if you wanted” when I said I was reading it. Several bloggers have said great things about it, including Katie.

I think I’m still processing how I feel about the book overall. So this may be a bad time to write a review, but I also know I might not have laptop access this week so best to do it now. Let’s start off with what in the world this 1439-page book is about, shall we? Basically, a superflu gets let out of a biological testing facility place and then goes on to wipe out over 99% of the people in the U.S. (and probably the world, but that can’t really be confirmed). The few survivors who are immune to it feel a calling, to either band together under the “Dark Man” Randall Flagg, or a sweet 108-year-old woman named Abigail Freeman.

That’s really all that the back of the book tells you. I suppose much more would be a spoiler. So let’s do this review bullet-style, what do you think? Here are the things I liked:

  • A few interesting characters/survivors emerge. My favorite was Stu.
  • I liked seeing how exactly the flu spread, and how completely devastating it was. It was interesting, and I enjoy seeing how these post-apocalyptic worlds come into being.
  • I enjoyed the discussions among survivors about the flu, what it means for the rest of humanity, how society might re-emerge, etc. Glen was an awesome character for this.
  • I like that this book kind of stands out in that a bunch of people die, but there’s no destruction – no massive bombs, or regime changes, or things like that. There’s not even an immediate threat to the survivors, like there would be in a zombie apocalypse. And it means that for the survivors, everything is still in tact and there are so few people left that supplies, food, and transportation are plentiful.
  • The conversations I ended up having with the honeyman as I read. I would tell him what part I was at and how I was feeling about certain characters, and it was fun. I like books that lead to good discussion with people in real life.
  • I got really bummed when something happened to one of the characters that I liked, so that’s good. I like to feel the emotions some time.

Some things I didn’t really like:

  • Likable characters were scarce. I had so-so feelings about a lot of them.
  • The one female main character, Frannie, got really irritating. She wouldn’t stand up for herself when a male character was making her really uncomfortable, and then she actually thought to herself that she was just having “woman vapors”. Are you kidding me? Stand up for yourself, woman!
  • This book was loooooonng. I read the “complete and uncut edition”, and honestly I think the story would have been more effective with some cutting.
  • I never quite understood the rules of the paranormal parts of the story, although I liked some of the aspects of it.

So that may be as coherent as I can be right now! I did like it, overall. It gave me a lot of food for thought and discussion. If it wasn’t so gigantic, it would make a fun readalong book. And now I have my first King novel under my belt! I may try another one later this year, although it can’t be one of his scary ones because I don’t do so well with horror. Any recommendations?

Sarah Says: 4 stars

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10 comments

  1. I really need to read this one but SO LONG. But still, this sounds excellent.

    The Green Mile is a good non-scary King. Misery is one I would normally recommend but it falls under the scary heading so you may want to steer clear of it. (But if you do decide to venture in, that one is so good).

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    1. Riiiiight, I forgot King wrote The Green Mile. I haven’t even seen the movie, which I feel like I should be mildly ashamed of.

      I may look into Misery even if it’s a bit scary, cause that’s a shorter one right? Why does it seem like all of his non-horror books are the giant, longest ones?

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  2. Ahhh thanks for the shoutout, you sexy beast. I agree, Frannie was kind of annoying sometimes. And this book was loooooong. I think I’d have preferred the supernatural bits to stay out of it, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the whole experience for me. I rather liked how even the “good” people when they tried to re-form society had the same stupid issues humans have had forever. A plague to decimate the dunderheads is not the answer! I promise the next time I bully you into reading something I’ll make it shorter ;).

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    1. Aw you didn’t bully me, I was intrigued! I think I would have liked the paranormal parts better if there was a rhyme or reason to it. And I thought that dividing the rest of humanity into “good” or “bad” people was a little simplistic, but its not really been done often in apocalyptic fiction as far as I know, so its not bothering me too much.

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  3. Maaaan, you literally picked his longest book for your first, so I feel like if you can get through this one, you can get through any of them! But I’m glad you liked it on the whole! Also Frannie is tooootally irritating, and I feel like she might be the reason that The Stand probably isn’t one of my most favouritest King novels (although I do like it a lot).

    I agree with Alley that The Green Mile is good and non-horrory (although it breaks my heart!) and The Dark Tower series is totally fantasyish and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten anyone to read it, so… Maybe you could be my one! 😉 But basically, they’re alllllll good 🙂

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      1. I like it SO much. It is the best thing of all things. You just have to get through the first book which I don’t love (it’s ok, but that’s it) and then it just gets SO GOOD.

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