Full disclosure – this is one of my favorite books of all time. I remember the first time I read it, I was working at a telemarketing company and nights were slow. I know, the whole point was to make money and in order to do that you had to take phone calls but, lets just say I was a pretty poor sales person. I started reading this and it took me months to read it the first time. I felt that if I had to read “rundown boot heals” one more time I would scream. However, after getting use to Stephen King’s style, I can’t imagine (nor would I want to) a book of this epic magnitude to not include a few hundred descriptions of the same boot heals walking down those lonely summer roads.
The unabridged version of this book is really the only way to read it. I say this having never read the abridged version. I just can’t see how that version of this book (or any other abridged version of any book for that matter) can be worth your while. Stephen King has a forward in the unabridged edition that is quite comical in of itself. He implores the reader to read it before making the purchase. He wants you to know that this book isn’t a new book and the characters aren’t going to be doing anything different, but instead we would just get, more of the characters. More backstory on Trashcan Man and the rest. Again, my opinion here, the background to some of these characters is absolutely vital to the story. Yes, you can read the whole thing without learning more about Larry or Trashcan Man…but why would you want to? Why wouldn’t you want to know the complexity of these characters? For at the end of the story you truly see how far each of them has come.
I have written papers about this book. No really I have. I won’t bore you, instead I will just give you my brief description and beg that anyone who loves Stephen King, mystery, fiction, intrigue, Post-Apocalyptic fiction, good/evil, or horror pick this one up and read it. The full version. No cutting corners.
The Stand takes place in 1990 when a government made super flu has been released and kills over 99% of the population in a matter of weeks. Havoc is unleashed, mass hysteria, looting, rioting, and your basic society breakdown ensue. The survivors are scattered all over the country, confused, scared, in shock and in great despair. With no idea or answer to the “what is next” ? question, they all starting having dreams that lead them to two opposing forces. One – a 108 year old black woman by the name of Mother Abigail, the other, a mysterious dark man that goes by the name Randal Flagg. The survivors band together and realize that the death, the hurt, and the blood shed, has only just begun.
It is an epic tale of good and evil, of survivors, of love and loss and of change (good and bad). It is a story that spans the entire country of America from Maine to Los Vegas. It has Stephen King’s optimism that people, for the most part are good, with his twisted little knife reminding us that some people are very bad.
I again – can’t even begin to say enough for this story except that you should read it. Read it and get lost in the stories within this story. Read and wonder if things would or could happen the way he describes. Or what you would do or wouldn’t do. Read it and wonder… and afterward say goodbye to the friends you made on page 3 as you close the book on page 1,153.