Book Review of The Stand (The Complete and Uncut Edition)

The Stand (The Complete and Uncut Edition)
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For years "The Stand" has mocked me, weighing down my bookshelves with its massive girth, visions of Gary Sinise, cornfields, and the Holland Tunnel littered with corpse filled cars dancing through my mind whenever I glanced upon its creased spine. I was a rather sheltered lad of 14 years old when the TV mini-series came out, and sadly other than a few commercials advertising the series, I never got around to watching it.

For years and years this book followed me around, from bookshelf to bookshelf, from apartment to apartment, from state to state, yearning to be cracked open and spew its plethora of dystopian fiction all over me. Finally, on a crisp October evening, around that one and only time of the year that I always get an itch to read a Stephen King novel, I dragged the book out of the grooves it had worn into the wooden bookshelf and began what would turn out to be a three month long odyssey into a world ravaged by a plague unlike any other the human race has ever encountered.

As the plague began terrorizing the planet, with early symptoms akin to that of the common cold, a funny thing started happening to me. I began noticing myself becoming alarmed when those around me began sneezing or sniffling. I'd catch myself in the act and think about how ridiculous it was for me to be having such reactions, but then I'd encounter another sneeze and react the same way. Can you imagine my reaction when I caught myself sneezing? You see, the beauty of "Captain Tripps", as the plague is referred to throughout the book, is just how frighteningly plausible the whole thing is, especially in the times we live in today.

Having only a vague knowledge of the The Stand's plot, I was pleasantly surprised by how much of the story focused on the plague's aftermath and the survivors' attempts to rebuild society in its wake. I've always been a fan of novels with expansive lists of characters and King did not disappoint me, as I was introduced to tons of characters, some good and some evil, all of whom are fighting to survive in a bleak new world.

Oddly enough I began reading this book at a time in my life when I found myself busier than ever, and as such it took me much longer to read than I would have liked. Because of this, I began to forget some of the details of less important plot lines, who some of the more minor characters were, etc. As you can imagine, this became somewhat of a problem as I had to piece through 1,100 + pages to find that one key detail that I'd forgotten. I can't blame King though for my apparent lack of cognitive skills. The Stand really is a damn good book and thankfully lived up to the lofty expectations that I had for it.