I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

In 1998, when he was promoting Bag of Bones, a fan asked King, what happened to Danny Torrence and if he'd write a sequel.  Over the years, King would wonder what age Danny was and if he had become an alcoholic like his father, only he'd joined AA.  This book answers these questions and more.

Dick Halloran teaches a young Danny how to lock up the ghosts he still sees from the Overlook Hotel into lockboxes inside his head and how to close his eyes for five seconds and the vision he sees will be gone.  As he ages, he soon starts to drink to drown out the shining.  In Wilmington, North Carolina, he just about hits bottom and his wondering ways end, when he finds himself in Frazier, New Hampshire and meets Henry, an old man, with a little bit of shine to him, who runs the small train around the park.  Henry sets Dan up with a temporary job until he can get one at the local hospice as an orderly.  At the hospice, he becomes known as Dr. Death, because when the housecat would go into someone's room and lie on their bed, it would turn out to be their time to die and Dan would be called and he would ease them into the afterworld.  He can also see when people are dying by a number of flies on their faces. And he still sees ghosts, both good and bad.

Down the road, a young child, Abra, whose shining ability makes Dan's look like a flashlight compared her lighthouse, has hidden her talent from her parents so they wouldn't worry.  One night she was able to place herself in Iowa when a group of people, the True Knot, talented folks like herself are torturing a kid with and sucking the shining out of him, which makes them younger and stronger.  Most of them have been around for centuries.  Abra reaches out to Dan and writes on his chalkboard in his room about what has happened, and for a short while they carry on a conversation in this manner.  When Abra is twelve, she sees a picture of a dead boy in a circular of missing kids and contacts Dan again for his help.

The problem is that Abra was noticed by the True Knot that night and they are searching for her because they believe they can feed off of her for years and things have been lean lately.  Also, the boy they took the shining from had the measles, and one of them gets its and dies from it.  They need Abra's antibodies to cure them as well.  She is able to go inside the leader of the group, Rose the Hat, for a moment, but when Rose tries it, Abra pushes her out easily with a loud shout that causes an earthquake on her block.

Luckily, Abra's doctor is a friend of Dan's in AA and through him, Abra and Dan must convince her dad that they need to go after this group and kill them before they come and kill Abra.  They hatch a plan for Dan and Abra to switch brains so Abra will not be in danger, but it doesn't go as they hoped and Abra gets taken by Crow, Rose's man and he's taking her back to the campsite, where the campers they travel in are, at the ground where the Overlook Hotel used to be.  Dan hatches another plan, with the help of Abra's great grandmother, who is dying and goes out face the Overlook Hotel once again.  This time, maybe for the last time, if he survives.

Though this book was low on the scare factor (maybe I'm getting too old to scare easily?), King "shines" as the master storyteller he is and it was a really great read.  I was happy to find out what happened to Danny and to see others like him and watch as he becomes the teacher that Dick Halloran was to him.  It was also nice to have the closure to Danny's story that lots of us have been dying to read about and King does it in a very wondrous way.


We’re all dying.  The world’s just a hospice with fresh air.
--Stephen King (Doctor Sleep p 67)
 Link to Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Doctor-Sleep-Novel-Stephen-King/dp/1451698860/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476884561&sr=1-1&keywords=doctor+sleep+stephen+king


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