Book Review: “The Stand”

 

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I finally got around to reading The Stand, and I am glad I did. There are many protagonists and/or antagonists who have a point of view in this apocalyptic quest for survival, answers, relief, satisfaction, and redemption. The Stand was originally published in 1978, events that occur in the novel may be much in question; however, today these events may be seen less in question and more in “what if this happens?”  Or “this can very well be a reality.” There is a powerful sense of emotion from a diverse range of characters, who fight to survive, alone or with others, and the multiple points of view provide a wider view of King’s apocalyptic world, which lends the opportunity to understand the world from each individual, whether it is Stu, Frannie, Larry, Francis, or another character.

Characters lose their loved ones and fall into despair. Some find loneliness for the first time and struggle to cope with it, while others were alone before the super-flu spread. The world begins to fade, finding someone to trust becomes a struggle. Through one of the character’s viewpoints, readers may ask ‘what would they do in such a situation’? From another character’s view, a reader may ask ‘why does the character react a certain way in this situation?’ With these multiple perspectives, one has a chance to develop a fuller comprehension of the world that is crumbling around each of them, and a chance to find empathy through each character, evil or good. And, perhaps, a reader can find herself or himself through one or more of these characters, giving a feel of how she/he would respond in such an event and time of turmoil.

This does not count fighting off zombies, but adapting to living without luxuries, and forming bonds with the least likely person. Decisions that one thought would never have to be made are made. Trust becomes a highlight of everyday existence as random people travel upon each other.  Would people fight for the last water? What about the last sources of food and shelter? These characters also bring their individual situations, which make them more relatable. When life is threatened, and those closest are gone, darkness seems to suck away confidence and purpose in life. These characters lose people close to them or already have before being introduced. There seems to be no way out for these characters, but they keep looking. This is another reason the characters in The Stand are relatable. There is a story beyond the super-flu, which is the life of each character before this epidemic and their life at the moment.

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When my mother was diagnosed with stage-4 cancer, it was like being trapped in a cloud of darkness – one that felt inescapable. The feeling of there being no way out consumed me. Before this, there had always been an escape and way out of situations. The two of us had never faced such a challenge. My mom would fall ill but would eventually be well, and all would be okay. What else made it difficult was that I knew she thought there wasn’t a way out. However, she kept her hope and had people with her to support her. It was then life felt more precious than ever. It takes this kind of tragedy to make one appreciate waking up healthy and breathing every day, to be able to live longer.  I believe characters in The Stand, support each other as they struggle through the darkness consuming their world. There are Stu and Glen, and Frannie and Larry and others who help each other survive the darkness that lies in the apocalypse, and the darkness within themselves, whether it is doubt, fear, distrust, etc. As a fan of Stephen King’s novels and short stories, fans of open world horror and survival, and people who love reading a well-thought-out story with intriguing character development, The Stand is essential. After this book has been read, the adaptation can be streamed to watch.

 

 

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