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Hi friends! Thank you for dropping by today. This is my Book Club discussion for The Stand by Stephen King.
If you’re new here, I am currently doing a read through of all of Stephen King’s novels, and am including my thoughts along the way here on the blog so you can add your comments too.
As I mentioned, this posts topic is The Stand.
Okay. Here goes.
I don’t know why I found this book to be so surprisingly good. Like The Shining, I was completely caught off guard by the depth of the storytelling. I will not make that mistake again moving forward. Stephen King really is an incredible writer, and it’s something that I definitely did not appreciate 20 years ago when I first read some of his books.
If you haven’t read this book yet and want to, you may want to exit now and come back when you have. Some spoilers and OMG moments are ahead. You have been warned…🏝
Book Club Notes : The Stand
Firstly, if Charlie had just stayed where he was, then the plague might not have had such catastrophic effects. But I can see how blind panic can make you do crazy things, so I kind of get why he ran. But he probably knew better, so shame.
I really loved Fran from the start. Her character is so strong and in the moment that I found her admirable. She never gets too caught up in what might happen, but really utilizes her strengths on the here and the now which helps her survive.
I was shocked that Stu was one that made it to the end, especially after being so sure he was going to be killed in the hospital.
And I was really upset when Nick was killed off. That was a heartbreaker.
The Stand follows a lot of characters as the world is faced with an incredibly deadly plague. In the midst of all the chaos and death, the survivors are each drawn toward one of two specific places.
They either choose Mother Abigail, or The Walking Dude, Randall Flagg.
Good vs. Evil.
In the beginning the difference is that those in Boulder really want to create an atmosphere that leads people to a better life as a whole. Those in Vegas are hellbent on destruction of the others. Their time is spent figuring out how to destroy Colorado.
But while those who followed Mother Abigail to Colorado have good intentions to start with, we see at the end of the book that with so many people old ways start to creep in very easily.
Stephen King really portrays both sides so well, and shows us how there is a constant battle within ourselves to be better, or not.
I think reading this book during Covid times made it easier to imagine the life that these people were living. Just trying to figure out how to survive in a world where there is so much unknown and fear, and trying not to let that fear eat you alive.
One thing that really stuck out to me what that those following Randall Flagg were living in a state of constant unease and fear. No one would say his name or speak too loudly for fear of literal crucifixion.
Those on the other side frequently voiced concerns, but never had to worry that they would be struck dead for doing so. (Not at first at least.)
Until the bomb blew up Las Vegas, I was thinking that their side would ultimately win out. He was so cunning and manipulative so it was easy to draw others into his plans. Just like the devil uses half truths and lies against us. (Getting Eve to eat the apple.)
Also, even though those in Boulder were considered the “good” side, in the end the few originals who were left were unsettled by the way things were shaping up. It wasn’t as idyllic. Life is definitely cyclical. Things always have a way of coming back around…for better or worse.
I think everyone just wants something to believe in. We may not always choose the best things, but having something to cling to for hope can really make a difference in the outcome of our lives.
I loved this book from start to finish. The constant battle was really a metaphor for everyday life. We get to choose which side we will walk on. It’s ultimately up to us. But with certain decisions, we can’t be too shocked in the end when we get ourselves blown up (metaphorically speaking, of course).
The Long Walk (Written as Richard Bachman.)