Monday, April 20, 2020

The Stand by Stephen King: Review



My laws, I finally finished this beast of a book last night. M-O-O-N spells done! It took me 16 days, 10 of those focusing solely on The Stand, to read this chunker.

I didn't love this book, but I happily buddy read this and I was invested in finding out what happened to all of the main characters and I did-mostly. Without spoiling anyone's reading of this there were a few things that I thought were important for me as a reader to have closure on that did not get resolved. The very ending only shows the fade to black for three of the main characters and for having read 1152 pages that was disappointing for sure.

I know that this was originally published in 1978, but since Black people existed in 1978 (I'm living breathing proof) I don't understand the total mishandling of how the VERY few Black characters were written. If memory serves me correctly there were 3 types 1) A band of mad men killing people on television, 2) A 'feral' little boy with 'Chinese' but strange colored eyes, and 3) A heavily religious 106 year old woman who is relaying God's will to a group of people who all dream of her and make a pilgrimage to her home so that they can go to the promised land where others will join them. It is the late 1980's/early 90's in the book and this woman is still living like it's 1925 which in the post apocalyptic times of King's story is seen as a virtue. In giving a bit of grace to King I don't think any of what he wrote was overtly offensive to me, except the use of 'Chinese' eyes as a descriptor-for some reason that really rubbed against my grain-yet it felt lazy and unimaginative to have the only people of color to be stereotypical with no depth to them. I'd honestly rather have no Black characters than poorly written stereotypical ones.

The second issue I had with this story was King's uncomfortable and strange use of sexuality in odd places throughout the stories, especially in the little vignette scenes. They mostly felt negative and dark and didn't add anything to the overall story for me at all. They could have been left out and would have taken nothing away from the total effect of the story. It was weird and unnecessary. 

With those frustrations being said, I did keep turning those pages and wanting to find out how things unfolded, so King definitely did his job there and I will go on to read more of his works with the knowledge that I can't expect and pretty much won't receive any good representations of people of color in his works. I am not any where near a King expert and have only read a few of his stories, so if you are a King fan and know of a book that will prove me wrong please point me to the book that will fix my idea of King as a writer who lacks diversity in his stories.


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