Book Review: "The Long Walk" ~ Stephen King

Posted by prla1983 on July 11, 2006 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

King is pretty much hit and miss for me despite writing really well every time. When all is said and done, though, "The Long Walk" is a hit. Well, most of it, yeah.

In this, King is actually writing under the pen name of Richard Bachman. In the Signet reprint, there's a cool introduction by King himself explaining the importance of being Bachman in which he sheds some distinct light on this particular matter. Funny how he never meant for people to know Bachman was really King and that once the word got out, it meant Bachman's death, back in 1985. This and other early manuscripts are then really what Bachman's wife found hidden away in the attic of the Bachman's residence in New Hampshire. Meaningless and made up but interesting. Personally, I don't find much of a difference between King and Bachman, but then again this is the first Bachman book I've read.

As for the story itself, it takes a very good premise and uses it to muse about life and the meaning of it all. One hundred boys have been drafted for The Long Walk, a yearly event where you can't stop walking literally for the life of you. If you stop, you're warned. If you don't get moving, you're warned a second and a third time. Then you're no longer warned. You're history. The last man standing is proclaimed winner and takes the Prize.

"The Long Walk" reminded me of "Stand By Me" except it's inherently more gory. King suceeds in progressively turning sanity into insanity as time goes by and the boys each reach their ultimate stages of resistence much in the same way that you sense the crazyness going on in "Apocalypse Now". It's there, you can feel it, everything becomes more and more outworldly as time washes by. Where King in my opinion doesn't quite succeed is that the plot drags a bit in the middle and the end though surprising can be frustrating. If I got it right, that is.

A good book but by no means essential King.

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