Monday, 21 July 2014

The Shining by Stephen King

This post contains a review and a bookish manicure.

The Shining by Stephen King
Published 2005 by Simon & Schuster Audio (originally published 1977)
Source: Audible Australia
Length: 15 hours and 54 minutes
Narrator: Campbell Scott
Rating: 4 stars
From the blurb: Danny is only five years old, but in the words of old Mr Hallorann he is a 'shiner', aglow with psychic voltage. When his father becomes caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, Danny's visions grow out of control. As winter closes in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seems to develop a life of its own. It is meant to be empty. So who is the lady in Room 217, and who are the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why do the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive? Somewhere, somehow, there is an evil force in the hotel - and that, too, is beginning to shine….

Like Carrie, The Shining, is a book I’ve known about but never felt the urge to read because I was too much of a scaredy cat. But my attempt to read all of King’s books means I’ll be reading all the ones I’ve tried to avoid out of fear. And I’m happy to say this was not as bad as I thought it would be, it was creepy but never too terrifying - phew!

Jack Torrence is a recovering alcoholic, it’s been fourteen months since his last drink, and it’s been two years since he broke his son’s arm for messing up his desk. Now he’s teaching at a prep school, and working on a play in his spare time. But after another violent outburst, this time involving one of his students, he’s in need of a new job. This is how he comes to be at The Overlook Hotel, Colorado. The hotel closes from the end of September until mid-May and the manager, Stuart Ullman, has decided to hire a caretaker for the winter months. Jack, his wife, Wendy, and five year old son, Danny, move in and things start to get creepy.

This story mostly belongs to Jack and Danny. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Wendy, but there was more of a focus on the guys. For me, watching Jack slowly start to turn against his family was the most terrifying aspect - the way he could look at Wendy with a thin smile but inside being thinking about what a bitch she was was scary. If you’ve ever known an alcoholic this sort of mood swing will be all too familiar. The same goes for his thoughts about Danny. Danny’s wellbeing was the most important thing to me and the fact that he was stuck at this hotel with his potentially violent father was awful.

In addition to this, Danny has psychic abilities, according to Dick Hallorann, the Overlook’s cook, he shines. If he concentrates, he can hear the thoughts or catch the feelings of those around him. He has an imaginary friend, Tony, who sometimes comes to him in visions and Tony begins to show him violent images of what will happen at the hotel. Danny is an amazing kid, especially when he has to deal with seeing these horrible things all the time. He still manages to love his father dearly, which is all the more painful.

Like ‘Salem’s Lot, The Shining deals with the idea that places or buildings can be evil and the Overlook Hotel certainly is not on my destination list. The building is filled with the ghosts of past guests and owners, a lot of bad things have happened there, and there were definitely certain scenes that freaked me out. I mentioned The Diviners in my review of ‘Salem’s Lot, because it too features an evil house, so I’ll suggest this as another book to read if you liked that aspect of The Diviners.

Like King’s previous two novels, The Shining uses an omniscient narrator, allowing us multiple points of view as well as details the characters can’t know or see. Again I think it works well, it helps to know what each character is thinking, it means the story is never one-sided, and your sympathy shifts from person to person.

But, this also means that you know all the details and you know what’s coming. Danny’s visions are described in detail over and over again, he might not understand them completely, but the reader will. I was definitely in suspense wondering how things would play out, but thanks to Danny I was pretty sure I knew what was going to happen, and I think this is why I wasn’t as scared as I thought I’d be.

The Shining is narrated by Campbell Scott and he does an amazing job. I recently listened to him narrate Cell (the book that sparked my SK Project fire) and I was thrilled when I saw he was also the narrator for this one. He does different voices and accents well, and I always know which character is speaking because of the voice he’s doing. It even starts to sound like the characters are speaking, and not a narrator. He’s gone on my auto-listen list, along with Juliet Stephenson and Katherine Kellgren.

I think there’s at least one link between The Shining and the Dark Tower series (Danny), but I also made a note of there being nineteen stairs that lead to the lobby level (nineteen is an important number in the DT series), but that might just be a coincidence.

The Shining is suspenseful story of a family under mental and physical attack from an evil hotel. It explores family dynamics, the inner workings of a recovering alcoholic, and a young boy’s psychic abilities.

While googling cover images I found a post that mentioned the title was inspired by John Lennon’s Instant Karma, and the lyric “We all shine on” – how cool is that? Here’s the post I read, the cover design is awesome!

Book #3 in my Stephen King Project

At the beginning of the year I did nails to match another Stephen King novel, The Eyes of the Dragon. I was drawn that version because of the wonderful cover. While looking into King covers I discovered that it was part of a redesign of King’s books for Hodder in 2007. I love how simple yet perfect these designs are and I’m sure I’ll be recreating a lot of them as manicures as my project goes on. I decided to use the cover from this series for my The Shining manicure:

I started with 2 coats of China Glaze White Out, once dry I used a fine brush and acrylic paint for the wasp.

So, seeing as I had lovely white nails, I decided to go back to book #1, Carrie, and do a manicure to match that cover, especially as I had a special request from Angie to do so! I removed the polish on my my ring nail and began again with 2 coats of China Glaze White Out, painting Carrie and Tommy with acrylic paint and a fine brush once the polish was dry. 

Here’s a photo, and I’ve posted a couple more with my review:


  1. Awesome job on the nails! Love that bee design, you captured it well.

  2. This Shinning is one of my ALL time favorite King books. I remember reading it! I was living in Alaska alone going to college and one night I was reading it in bed in my little apartment and next thing I knew a picture frame fell over in the livingroom FOR NO REASON. Mind you I slept with the lights on that night. I love your nails for both the Shinning and Carrie. I really like the white with the black/yellow .. it just pops!

  3. Rocking nails! I really need to read this book. One of my friend's sister is going to get proposed to in room 107 on Tuesday!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  4. That bee is perfect, Mands. I actually haven't read any Stephen King either. I am not sure why as I think I would really like it. Maybe I'll try to read one this fall. His books would be great Halloween reading.

  5. Love the two nails. So cool, and the bee in particular looks super realistic! I'm glad you liked this one. I have never seen the movie, but I've been now I definitely think I should check out the book at least. I've never been terribly interested in SK novels (I've only read Misery) but your posts have me really curious now.


  6. amazing ! love this white color all cute bee!
    have a nice day Amanda !

  7. This one is probably the most famous book by King. I have heard so much about it and I still admire you for reading it. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and needless to say I LOVE your nails. Great review, Mands :)

  8. OMGosh! Love your nails!

    I've read a few Stephen King books and my favorite was Pet Cemetery. That book creeped me out! Of course I was a teenager at the time. I thought it would be so cool to bring my pets back to life until I read that lol

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  9. Reading through your reviews for all the King books really makes me want to put on my big girl pants, stop being such a scaredy cat and read them all too! I've always been terrified of his books, even the stories that aren't super scary always sort of have a haunting quality that stays with you for weeks after - all the movies based on his books have done so for me anyways XD The Shining is probably one of his stories I'm most curious about. It's just so infamous, I really do feel like I'm missing out. I'm glad that you're finding these less scary then you initially thought, makes me think I might be able to handle them too! LOVE your matching mani for this one and for Carrie ♥ Well done Mands ^^ x

  10. Wow Mands! You're on a roll with your Stephen King challenge! Way to go! :D Like the other Stephen King novels you've mentioned, I think I'm going to definitely save this for a few years up the road. Thanks for sharing, and wonderful manicure & review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

  11. I had no idea you were challenging yourself to read books by King and that's actually fabulous. I want to read them and have a couple of them on my list but I am kind of a scardy cat. Seeing you do this though makes me really want to read them... and to get over my fear.

    I am already terrified though. I am really worried about Danny and Jack in some ways. I seriously hope things turn out all right for them but...I wouldn't be able to find out unless I read the book myself.. eek.

    Gorgeous nails, Mands! The bee on the cover has me slightly scared though!

    Also, LOVELY review! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  12. I am so excited to see your review on the shining. I have loved the movie ever since I was very young. I remember I read the book for the first time when I was in seventh or eighth grade. Quite honestly I have to say it was the only book I think I've ever read that has scared me in my life. Even though I had already seen the movie 1 billion times the book terrified me. I remember falling asleep with my lights on and not wanting to shut them off. I would love to listen to this book in audio form. Your manicure looks awesome by the way :)

  13. Such an effective mani! I feel like I know a lot about The Shining too just coz it's such a big part of pop culture even though I've never read it or even warched the movie. I will have to give the audio a try. Sounds so intense though!

  14. I've not seen this cover for The Shining, but I like the bee - you did a great job.

    It's been several years since I read this so a lot of the details have been forgotten but I remember this was the first horror I'd ever read. I think also reading it as an adult has given you a different perspective on things because you've mentioned stuff, like the treatment of Wendy, which I know didn't even cross my mind when I read it. This is making me want to listen to an audio of it too, to see what else I might notice that I didn't before.

  15. Great job drawing the bee and also the silhouette of the couple! I love it when I can manage to get two manis out of one hehe ;)

  16. Brilliant nails, that bee looks amazing! Your SK project is really making me want to binge read the some Stephen King myself. I wouldn't know where to begin though, he has so many!


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