THE LONG WALK- STEPHEN KING
Hey all! I thought I'd celebrate my first published review by reviewing one of my favourite books of all time - Stephen King's The Long Walk.
In the near future, where America has become a police state, one hundred boys are selected to enter an annual contest where the winner will be awarded whatever he wants for the rest of his life. The game is simple - maintain a steady walking pace of four miles per hour without stopping. Raymond (Ray) Garraty is one of a hundred boys, none older than eighteen, who are walking for the Prize.
The walk is completed when only one walker remains. There is no second prize.
All must walk at least four miles per hour. When a walker falls below that speed, he is warned. Thirty seconds later comes a second warning and then a third. The final warning is the ticket - death at the hands of the soldiers who guard the walkers.
Three warnings, and you're out - permanently.
In a future society, 100 boys are chosen annually to walk in a televised competition where the winner is the one not dead at the end of it all. The rules are simple; walk and don’t stop, don’t drop below 4 miles per hour, if you do, you get a warning, 3 warnings and then you get a ticket - a bullet to the head, throat, wherever they can get it in. The ultimate battle of mind against body. The story follows Raymond Garraty, a boy who doesn’t know why he entered the competition and left behind everything good in his life.
So, I have read this book so many times but I thought I’d do a review of it now anyway because I love it. It started as almost a tradition in grade 7, me reading this book every year. It was the only Stephen King book in the library I was the only person to have ever borrowed it. Me constantly borrowing this book was kind of my way of saying; girls can enjoy Stephen King too, girls can get through a book filled with blood and guts and appreciate it. I was so annoyed by the fact that this was the only stereotypically ‘adult male book’ and the looks that I got every time I borrowed where almost warnings like; do you really want to read that? Borrowing this book, I think, was my way of getting back at those damn sexist librarians who didn’t think I could handle anything more than Vampire Academy - not judging that book by the way, it is next on my to read list.
Anyway, that is my rant over, on to the novel. Every time I read this novel I find out something new about the story and I love it. Each time, it is like reading something different, the same main plot but you pick up on different emotions; the way Garraty uses his girlfriend to get through the walk, the way Stebbins is barely holding on or the impact of Olsen’s deterioration.
Probably the thing that I love most about this book is the world. It is both tangible yet illusive and, while I wish I knew more about that society and how the world got to be that way, the little hints throughout the book are enough to satisfy me. Another thing I love are the characters who are so real. King just has a way of creating characters that are almost painfully human; flawed, egotistical, vindictive and self-righteous yet upright, altruistic, generous and authentic.
It is like The Hunger Games only darker. That is how a lot of people like to describe this book and I kind of see what they mean - group of people get selected to be a part of a televised competition where the competitors are gradually killed off until the sole survivor can claim his riches. The only difference really is that The Hunger Games is like going on the pony ride at a fairytale themed birthday party when compared to The Long Walk. The psychological trauma of the this book digs deep and leaves you questioning everything. I can just imagine the walk; one moment you are perfectly comfortable and the next you get a cramp in your foot or your leg or you get hit with a cold which quickly turns to fever.
This is not a forgettable book and I recommend it to anyone who can handle it however, I suggest reading this book at an older age because it is a lot harder to take in when young - I speak from experience...
WARNING - if you are not a fan of graphic violence, psychological torment, swearing and/or crude language, I’d suggest you don’t read it, this likely isn’t the book for you.