The Stand by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
***** 5 Cranky Stars *****
This was the first post-apocalyptic book I ever read and it hooked me. It’s the gold standard I applied to all other works in this genre. I have now handed my battered, well-worn and well-traveled copy onto my son.
One of the things that struck me and captured my attention is how plausible this scenario was. An experiment, an accident, a man wanting to outrun the horror to save himself and his family, unleashes a pandemic: a super flu that wipes out 99 percent of the population.
This is where King is at his best. The small, interpersonal actions and motivations in a world back dropped against horror. It’s in the man who runs to save his own family and as a result, kills nearly everybody else’s.
It’s in the small population of survivors who dream big – some toward Mother Abigail (good) and others to Randall Flagg (bad). It’s in King’s understanding of human nature and how the heart of darkness beats in all of us. Quite often, what separates us from good or bad are the small choices we make or those we encounter at pivotal points in our lives.
In this world, King puts his and our faith in a small band of survivors. The heroes and heroines aren’t perfect. They’re flawed and impaired – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Perhaps what I remember most about this book are the heroic actions of some of the characters – on the small scale and the grand. I’ve dropped references to this book, such as M-O-O-N, for most of my life now and I’m sure I’ll continue for the rest.
Is it a perfect book? No, by all means, it is not. It’s bloated in parts, frustrating, and also, heart breaking.
But, when weighing the balance: the good far exceeds the bad. It’s one of the few books – horror or non horror, fiction or non fiction, that’s ever made me cry.
When asked what are my top Steven King books: The Stand always features as number one or dead even with It.
This book is highly recommended and unforgettable.
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