Monday, October 7, 2013

Doctor Sleep Read-along: Chapters 1-6

It's time to chat about Doctor Sleep by Stephen King!

Last week, we kicked off the Doctor Sleep Read-along (aka #sleepalong)!  This week, we move into our first discussion on the book itself.  Please note that the following discussion covers Chapters 1-6 of Doctor Sleep by Stephen King.  Please warn of any possible spoilers, and if you have read ahead, please do not disclose details that may come along further in the story.

After finishing Part One of Doctor Sleep and having a multitude of online conversations with participants, I thought I would throw a number of questions out to everyone this week.  I will include my personal thoughts after each question.  Feel free to link up in the Mr. Linky below with your answers, your own thoughts outside of these questions, or simply comment below.

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 am personally very thankful that I recently re-read The Shining!  Minor characters have made appearances that did not even appear in the movie (or at least that I don't remember) and it has helped in having a better understanding to some references made in the story thus far.  I also think that Danny's emotional state is still fresh in my mind.  I have a better feeling of where he starts his journey in Doctor Sleep, which has helped create an immediate connection to 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 am not surprised to read that Dan has had a roller coaster ride of a life thus far.  After such an emotional trauma, he has had to struggle with so much more than your average child.  When you add in his ability to shine, his struggle is one that is incomprehensible.  Thankfully, he has had some amazingly loving people (i.e., Wendy and Mr. Halloran) and people willing to take a chance on him (i.e., Billy and Casey) that have helped guide him towards the positive.  I also have to wonder how much King's own alcoholism played into this story.  How much is he writing himself into Dan?!?

We are also introduced to the True Knot in this first section.  What do you think about this group?

Crazy weird!!  I think the following quote really sums up the True Knot . . .
"America is a living body, the highways are its arteries, and the True Knot slips along them with a silent virus."  (page 151)
After reading this, I think that King has only touched the surface of what these people are capable of.  And, this scares me a little bit because they do not stand out.  They are the RV people that we often ignore on the roads.  We pay them no attention because they are just passing through.  The monsters that walk amongst us are the scariest of them all.

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?

Honestly, I initially had a hard time falling into the story.  Emotionally, I was attached to the characters right away because I just came off of reading The Shining.  Limited time and feeling under the weather contributed to the lack of really falling into the story.  As I approached the end of Part One, the connection became stronger and I cannot wait to dive right back in.  

I also cannot close the discussion without mentioning Abra.  I love her sweet innocence.  I have some guesses where King is going with her, but I can't wait to read more now that she is older and find out for sure.  

Be sure to stop by Charleen's blog, Cheap Thrills for her thoughts on these questions as well!

How is Doctor Sleep going for you?  Who has already finished the novel?!?


  1. I accidentally had a link to a different discussion (#2) * sorry - can you delete? * And the book - I'm actually loving it so far! I don't think you need to read The Shining in order to get this book, but it definitely was nice to be able to really get into the story because I had read it before.

    Tanya Patrice

    1. Tanya Patrice ... I will definitely delete your extra link for you! I'm glad to hear you are loving the book so far. I'm heading over to your link right now and read more about it!

  2. I believe I read that King wrote quite a bit of his own alcoholism and AA experiences into the book... apparently he was a little light on it in an early draft, and one of his kids called him out on it, how it could be made so much stronger. I don't know if he was actually reluctant to put that much detail in there, or it was just a subconscious thing.

    1. I agree with both of you - I think his experiences with drugs and alcohol impacted him into writing the evolution of Dan's character. @Tif - I never even considered the additional creepyness of the True Knot because they blend in with everyone around them - ew!! These could be people you see at your local convenience store, preying on your kids!

    2. Charleen @ Cheap Thrills ... I had read somewhere that King had addressed the alcoholism in this story, but I hadn't heard those details. Very interesting!

      Heather ... Seriously, that fact alone creeps me out more than anything! It's a different kind of creepy that he has addressed before, but at this stage in my life, it kinda freaks me out!

  3. I'm glad I read The Shining not too long ago--it's nice to have all the details from that book in the forefront of my mind. Having finished Doctor Sleep, I will say that King does a good job reminding readers of the important details of The Shining, so if someone HASN'T read it recently, I think they'll be fine with Doctor Sleep anyway.

    The biggest thing people need to remember is that Doctor Sleep is a sequel to the BOOK The Shining, and not the movie. I've seen complaints floating around that people wanted The Overlook to be more prominent in Doctor Sleep, but...THE OVERLOOK BURNED DOWN. Duh.

    I fell into the story right away. I like the progression Dan's life has taken--it certainly feels realistic, considering his past and his genetics. I really like his role as Doctor Sleep.

    The True Knot is creepy as hell. I can't remember how much detail King has given about them at this point in the book, so I'll be careful here, but some of the things we learn about them are...[shudders].


    1. Heather ... I echo what you say about Doctor Sleep being a sequel to the book The Shining! I honestly was not expecting The Overlook at all, but what I've seen so far, I like the subtlety of its return. I don't know if it plays a bigger role than it does already, but I think I would prefer it if it didn't.

      I think the True Knot is creepy too! I'm worried about what there is to come!

      And, those ghost pieces ... sooooo gross!!!!

  4. sure I gave a link here yesterday but thanks to Tif for finding me (cos we're using the #sleepalong hashtag arent we? :)).

    Anyway here's my link to what I thought to the first part

    1. Nordie ... I also added your link to the Mr. Linky above! I love that we can connect both here and on Twitter! Love #sleepalong!!

  5. Library Elf just sent an email. They're holding a copy for me. Won't pick it up until Thurs though.

    1. J. Kaye Oldner ... Yeah!!! Keep me posted on what you think!!!

  6. I am fascinated with the AA aspect of the story. I know that King is a recovering alcoholic and many of my close relatives are as well, and the little asides that he's included are spot on. AA members say and do those things and although I expected it to be authentic, I also feel as if it gives his fans a little look inside that head of his.

    Abra is sort of an annoying kid. She seems a bit younger than her age whenever I read about her, and I expect the opposite given her talent. Perhaps her sheltered lifestyle is what keeps her childlike or perhaps King is playing on her innocence but it's bugging me a tiny bit at 80% in.

    1. Ti ... Really good points about AA! I do find it to be authentic as well and appreciate the honesty of it.

      So far, I'm not bothered by Abra. I do feel like she has had to put on a front all her life as she tries to hide her powers. She does miss the mark often, but I expect and accept that. Of course, I'm only about 60% of the way in, so I could change my mind!!


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