Wayne C. Rogers Weighs in on Stephen King’s ‘Doctor Sleep’
Written by: Wayne C. Rogers
To say that Dr. Sleep is perhaps the most anticipated novel of Stephen King’s career is certainly an understatement. I suspect millions of fans have wondered over the years about the outcome of Danny Tolerance’s life after The Shining.
This book is the answer to that question.
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 happened to me. Let’s just say this is Stephen King’s gift to us and that the book needs to be enjoyed to its fullest in whatever way we choose, slow or fast.
The journey of Dr. Sleep starts out with Danny as a young boy, coping with being a fatherless child and the horrible things his dead father 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 stay-fast decision to change.
In time, Danny Tolerance makes his way to Frazier, New Hampshire.
This is fine, New England town where he eventually gets a job in the local hospice, while discovering AA meetings and attending them every week. Though Danny does many things around the hospice, it’s his specialty for helping the dying patients to pass over that draws the attention of the nurses and the cat, Azzie. Azzie can sense when a patient is about to die and stays with them until Danny arrives to take over.
During his passing years in Frazier, Danny begins to get bizarre visions of a child with stronger psychic abilities than he possesses. The little girl, Abra, is born in the town next to Frazier and gradually grows into a lovely young girl with extremely strong powers of the shining. Unfortunately, Danny isn’t the only one who becomes aware of her and the special gift she has.
Rose, the beautiful and deadly leader of a group called the True Knot, also has the shining. In fact, all the members of the True Knot have some degree of the shining within them, but Rose is the strongest and doesn’t like to be challenged. Once she becomes aware of Abra, she sets it in her mind to kill the child and to use the girl’s powers for her own benefit.
When Abra begins to suspect the danger she’s in, she calls out to Danny for help. Like Dick Hallorann was to Danny Tolerance as a child, Danny decides to become Abra’s teacher and to somehow keep her from harm. He knows from firsthand experience what it’s like to be a child with special powers 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 before they can get to his young friend.
For readers expecting an out-and-out horror novel, this isn’t it. Though there are plenty of scares in Dr. Sleep, the book is more concerned 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 for the lone man. It’s only then that he can find his true calling in life…that of helping 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 slowly learns how to fight it, using her gift of the shining for revenge and to protect those who are defenseless.
Both 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 defeating the challenges placed before you. Each individual must do this on their own, even if they have the support of their family and friends. It’s an inner struggle that must be faced and owned up to before it can be beaten into submission.
Dr. Sleep is certainly Stephen King’s masterpiece.
It’s a story that will resonate within a reader’s heart and soul long after the last page has been turned. This is what great writing is truly about. Not the horrors of mankind, but rather the connections we make with each other that are filled with love and giving.
I just started a Koontz novel, but after this excellent review, you can bet I’ll find Dr. Sleep and read it next. It sounds great! Thanks. 🙂
I am really excited about reading this one by Mr.King. Thank you for your review here…it has encouraged me to get it purchased and read. As always…just me…vitina
I’m reading it now and can’t put it down. it is so good!