Dr. Sleep by Stephen King
Scribner, Hardcover, 531pp, $30.00
Review by Wayne C. Rogers
For those who grew up with Stephen King as a stable in their reading curriculum, Dr. Sleep is to be savored like an exquisite meal. Unfortunately, you’ll probably find yourself flipping through the pages as fast as you can, unable to put the book down.
That’s what I did.
I love it when that happens!
The journey of Dr. Sleep starts out with Danny as a young boy, coping with being a fatherless child and the horrible things his dad attempted to do to him and his mother at the Overlook Hotel. It then advances in years to when Danny’s an adult, drinking and fighting, unconsciously carrying his dad’s legacy with him wherever he goes. In time, Danny bottoms out as an alcoholic. It’s only then that he’s able to make a decision to change his destructive ways.
Over the next few months, Danny Tolerance travels to Frazier, New Hampshire.
This is a fine, New England town where he eventually gets a job in the local hospice, while discovering AA meetings. Though Danny does many things around the hospice, it’s his specialty for helping the dying to pass over that draws the attention of the nurses and the cat, Azzie, who can sense when a patient is in the last stages of life.
As the years pass by, Danny begins to receive visions of a child with strong psychic abilities. The little girl, Abra, is born close to Frazier and gradually grows into a lovely teenager with strong powers of the shining. Think of Carrie on steroids.
Unfortunately, Danny isn’t the only one who becomes aware of Abra.
Rose, the beautiful leader of the True Knot, also has the shining. In fact, all the members of the True Knot have some degree of the shining, but Rose is the strongest. Once she becomes aware of Abra, she gets it into her mind to kill the child and to use the girl’s powers for the benefit of the group.
When Abra begins to suspect the danger she’s in, she seeks out Danny’s help. He knows firsthand what it’s like to be a child and to have an unimaginable evil hunting you down. Once he’s called in to help, Danny will devote himself to destroying the True Knot.
For readers expecting an out-and-out horror novel, this isn’t it. Though there are plenty of frights in Dr. Sleep, the book deals more with the personal journeys of Danny Tolerance and Abra Stone and how they cope with the changes within themselves.
Danny’s journey is one of redemption. It begins at rock bottom and then gradually works its way into sobriety. It’s only then he can find his true calling, which is to help the dying to pass over.
Abra, on the other hand, experiences a journey of understanding in how pure evil can manifest itself within our world. She learns how to fight it, using her gift of the shining for both revenge and to protect the helpless.
The two journeys are filled with indispensible meaning and personal growth as each person overcomes tragedy and heartache to push beyond their imagined limits. You see there can be no growth without handling the challenges placed before you. Each individual must do this on their own, even if they have the full support of their family and friends. Most of life is an internal struggle that one battles every single day.
Dr. Sleep is certainly Stephen King’s masterpiece.
It’s a story that will resonate within a reader’s mind long after the last page is turned. This is what great storytelling is about. Not the horrors of mankind, but rather the connections we make with each other that are filled with love and giving.
Wayne C. Rogers is a Las Vegas casino employee who has been writing professionally (with the intent to sell) for twenty-five years. It's only been within the past three years that Mr. Rogers (no, not the famous TV host of programs for children) made the decision to work towards being a full-time writer of horror, suspense, psychological, and erotic horror fiction.
He has written several novellas (three of which are posted on Amazon's Kindle), dozens of short stories (some of which are also on Amazon), an erotic/horror novel--The House of Blood--for the wild crowd that lives on the kinky side of reality, and five completed screenplays based on his stories The Encounter, The Tunnels, A Step in the Shadows, Trick or Treat, and The Garbage Disposal (the last three are short screenplays). He is currently at work on a sixth screenplay, The Code of Honor, as well as a seventh, Dolan. During the year of 2012, Mr. Rogers sold over twenty short stories with some of them appearing in the paperback anthologies: I'll Never Go Away, Grindhouse and Peep Show, Volume 2.
Being somewhat of a couch potato at his old age of sixty-two, Mr. Rogers enjoys the pastime of writing, reading (he has over a few hundred books stored in boxes a few feet from his writing table), great movies from any time period, and well-made television programs such as Justified, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Game of Thrones, Justified, and American Horror Story. Finally, Mr. Rogers is rather unusual in that he doesn't own a house or a car, A friend just recently bought him a cellphone, but he hasn't turned it on as of yet. He spends his free time at the computer writing his stories, and usually doesn't leave his apartment till it's time to head to work. Thank God for ham & cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup!!!