I finished this book weeks (months?) ago and am still not really sure what to say about it. It’s The Stand. Like. Everyone knows about it, yeah? It seems silly to even attempt a review but attempt I shall.
The Stand is about good versus evil, the perseverance of the human spirit, and hope. It’s also got some really super gross parts, and some bits that have NOT stood the test of time and made me cringe because PHRASING, Stephen King, PHRASING. (That was supposed to be code for racism. And sexism. There are both in this book, just a heads up.)
Anyway, if you can look past that and chalk it up to it being a sign of the times in which the novel was written (I had some trouble but YMMV), this is a good read. It’s not a short read, but it’s gripping. I mean, there’s A LOT going on.
The facts are these: a terrible contagion has been let loose on an unsuspecting populace, the result being world-wide death to a really super depressing scale. Almost everyone dies of the disease, or in the days and weeks following, leaving pockets of humanity scattered throughout the country. These pockets begin to gather on two distinct sides of an invisible war, based partly on (I assume) what kind of person they are, but mostly based on crazy ass dreams they have, and which dream appeals to them more.
On one side, you have Mother Abigail, who is giving everyone nice, calming dreams of Nebraska cornfields. On the other, you have Randall Flagg, who is giving everyone creepy dreams of death and weasels (for real). There is no in between, as far as I can tell. Though I do like the idea of some other group of people meeting in, I don’t know, Michigan, and just being all “wtf are those fools doing over there.”
Mother Abigail’s people gather in Colorado, Flagg’s people in Las Vegas, and they’re both preparing for all out war with each other. There are memorable characters on both sides (the less disturbing (mostly) being on the Colorado side) and terrible and wonderful things happen to them all, because this is Stephen King we’re talking about and he is really good at coming up with creative ways to make a character’s life a living hell.
I read most of Stephen King’s novels when I was in high school (or before, somehow I got ahold of IT when I was like 12) and I’ve always claimed that The Stand was my favorite, but now I wonder if that’s really true. I enjoyed it, sure, but I was reading the extended version (which I’m not sure was necessary) and I kept getting mad that I still had so much to read. This is not the book’s fault, obviously, I’m pretty sure I’m just a crazy person. In any case, it’s making me wonder if I shouldn’t go back and reread all of King’s books so I can say, without a doubt, which one is truly my favorite.
This book is truly an experience and I highly recommend making the time to read it. Just make sure it’s a lot of time. Like. More than you think.