Dr. Sleep, for those who don’t know, is Stephen King’s many-years-later sequel to The Shining. I can’t say The Shining was one of my favorite King novels, but it’s certainly struck a chord with a lot of people. King is at his best when making something we already find creepy even creepier. And an abandoned, snowed-in hotel fits that bill.
The book is getting raves from King fans and, while I don’t think recent King novels are anywhere near as good as the old ones, this one seemed worth a go.
The “Sleep Along” poses the following questions for chapters 1-6:
Doctor Sleep picks up not long after the closing of The Shining. For those who have recently read The Shining, do you think it proves to be helpful in diving into the sequel? If you have not recently read The Shining, do you feel you are missing out on some of the details?
I haven’t read The Shining in many years, but I really appreciated the way King recaps the events as he starts this novel. I’m sure there are references I’m not getting, but I’m not feeling I need to have reread The Shining. I think King does a great job of jogging your memory without going into a long retelling of the story.
Danny has now become Dan. In Part One, we watch his transformations from learning to live with the horrors of The Overlook to succumbing to the drink (like his father) to his road to sobriety and earning the title of Doctor Sleep. What do you think about the journey King has taken Dan on thus far?
I’m glad the book begins with Danny as a child, because I really felt for him. Dan the adult was a little hard to relate to for a while. I get that he’s messed up by his experiences as a child and his psychic abilities. Still, he’s not the easiest guy to like. But as the book goes on, I’m coming to like him a lot more. I like characters who struggle to be good people, and he’s definitely struggling.
We are also introduced to the True Knot in this first section. What do you think about this group?
Hmmm… I was intrigued by their first introduction, but now, I’m not so sure. A group of RV drivers roaming the country, dressed like your grandparents, searching for psychic children? I’m not sure I’m creeped out in the way that Stephen King is so good at.
This gets to one concern I have about this book, which is the violence factor. Older Stephen King novels were disturbing in a psychological way, not just violent. It may be odd that I hate violence but I love King. Still, I love the way he gets in our heads and knows what keeps us up at night. But I don’t really want to read about nice little children being tortured.
At the moment I’m more disturbed by little Abra having visions about horrible things and not being old enough to process them or do anything about them. Now, that’s creepy.
Overall, what do you think so far? Have you completely fallen into the story? Or, has it taken a bit longer to get back into the life of little Danny Torrance?
I’m in, but with caution. I’m really liking Dan and Abra and want to see where the story goes. I’m really interested in the Dr. Sleep concept. I think the idea of helping people die is a really important one. I’m not really seeing any side characters I like – I’d like to have a better understanding of the town Dan lives in.