run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Review: The Long Walk by Stephen King

Yes, it's fiction and No, it's not about running.
But, it is about a race.

Non-Pertinent Information:
1. My only experience with Stephen King previous to this book was a book on CD that my friend Pony gave me to listen to on my drive home from Myrtle Beach one year. Here's how conversation went...

Me: "Night Shift, huh? It sounds scary. Is it scary?"
Pony: "Not really. It's a bunch of short stories. You'll like it."
Me: "I do like short stories. But, it's Stephen King. Doesn't he write scary books? I don't like scary."
Pony: "He does, but this is just a bunch of short stories."

It's a nine hour drive.
The X is where I started listening.
The O is where I stopped listening.
The jagged lines are where I assumed the search party
would look to find my mangled, dead body.

2. After that experience and only knowing about his books that were turned into movies (the Shining, Carrie, It, etc...), I just assumed that Stephen King only wrote books that would terrify me and keep me up at night. I don't like being terrified.

On my last long run before the marathon, The KoB brought up the book The Long Walk. I'm not even sure how it started, but he started describing it to me and I thought it sounded really terrible and weird. I'm not into Dystopian Fantasy. I'm a fuddy duddy that doesn't like to stretch my imagination to believe something out of the box. So, I wrote it off.

But something about that conversation nagged at me. I think it was probably something to do with the fact that The KoB said he just about always thinks about the book in some way or another during a long race/run and it had been YEARS since he read it. So, I checked it out from the library fully expecting to not like it. But, wow. I loved it and can't stop thinking about it.

The tagline on the old copy above says:
In a future America the Marathon is the ultimate sports competition- a novel of chilling, macabre possibility.

The premise is this: The Long Walk is a yearly endurance competition for teenage boys. There is only one winner and the losers... well... let's just say they REALLY lose. If you're like me and love spoilers, you should read the book review on amazon, but otherwise... just check the book out from the library and dive in.

Since the plot is so simple: uhhh.. it's a walking competition, you can really just get into the minds of the characters. It's amazing. Their attitudes at the beginning, the middle, the end and how they change and how the competitors relate to each other. And OF COURSE, the competition is a metaphor for life.

As a runner, I couldn't read it without thinking about racing and running. Like... how much harder could I push? What would happen if I kept going, even when when I thought I couldn't? What is stronger... my mind or my body? Also, if my life had depended on it, could I have ran a 3:34 in Baton Rouge? OH THE QUESTIONS.

The bottom line is this... I finished the book almost a week ago and I'm still thinking about it. It's really good. You should read it and then tell me what you think the ending was because according to The KoB and Wikipedia I read the ending wrong and went all deep shit and read too much into it.


Carina said...

Sounds like a book I'd really enjoy. I'm putting it on my list!

Gracie said...

Your map made me LOL!