01 July 2012

The Standalong - Halfway Post

I completely forgot that today was the day to post our thoughts on The Stand, by Stephen King, so two posts go up for this Sunday, July 1st. Thanks to Trish for hosting! And people! Ben Affleck is going to direct The Stand for release next year or something like that. I'm so excited; I feel much more confident that Affleck will do a better job than other directors when bringing Stephen King projects to the big screen.

Okay, FYI to all readers and to fellow participants of this #standalong. Only one spoiler below, so if you haven't read up to this part, tread lightly with that bullet.

Overview of where I'm at with a few thoughts (no spoilers)
  • I'm on page 751 of the uncut edition and I love it.
  • I will say that I thought Book 1 was much, much scarier when Project Blue unfurled out. The complete and utter destruction that the man-made disease caused was believable and frightening. I've heard a few other #standalong participants were developing a cold around the same time they started reading the book and I shudder for you all. I can only imagine how much scarier the book was.
  • Once the story got going into the eventual movement of post-apocalyptic groups converging together, I found it wasn't as scary, which is relative. I mean, it's still competely unnerving, but compared to the first part when everyone was dropping like flies, I haven't felt as, well...concerned when opening up the book.
  • The book Nick is reading, Set This House on Fire, by William Styron is a real book and one of the character's names is Mason Flagg.
  • As my "education" with Stephen King books continues throughout this year, I've learned that EVERY CHARACTER in his books will eventually WET THEIR PANTS.
Things I thought were extremely creepy (no spoilers):
  • Larry Underwoood walking through the Lincoln Tunnel.
  • Harold Lauder.
  • Trashcan Man. (He and Harold Lauder are the reasons kids shouldn't bully others.)
  • Randall Flagg, the hardcase, the walkin' dude. He. Is. So. Freakin'. Scary.
  • The Kid. (I actually felt a little bad for Trashcan Man.) I learned from The Guilded Earlobe that The Kid was not part of the original version of the book, and I agree with him that this is one section that I would have been happy if Stephen King left out of the uncut version. I mean, the scenes with The Kid were forty pages of NASTY. Also, The Kid reminded me of Arnold Friend from Joyce Carol Oates' short story, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"
Characters that annoy me to NO END (mini-spoiler on the 3rd bullet):
  • Frannie. For the love of all that is holy, the way she doesn't tell ANYONE ANYTHING is so ridiculous. The entire human race has fallen off the planet, and there are things that make you uncomfortable with Harold Lauder, and you DON'T TELL ANYONE? Not even Stu? What is wrong with you? Open up your mouth!
  • Larry Underwood. I guess he is going to improve (I hope), but right now, he's just so annoying to me.
  • SPOILER. The Committee. Seriously, you want Tom Cullen to do what? Really?! That's just wrong.
Characters that I love (no spoilers):
  • Mother Abagail. Of course. She's awesome.
  • Nick Andros. He is just so daggone smart and cool.
  • Stu Redman. Love him, but because Frannie is a naive idiot at times, I question why he'd want to be with her. He seems much more sensible.
  • Kojak/Big Steve. This is what I love about Stephen King. He devotes three pages to Kojak's perspective and experience. I LOVE THAT.
QUESTION: Has anyone noticed that sometimes Mother Abagail is spelled "Abagail" and then also "Abigail?" I can't tell if it just happens to be a typo, but who knows with Stephen King.

All right, folks! That's my halfway point post for this incredible book. It goes without saying that I feel like Stephen King is THE MAN.

Note: I'm participating in Trish's #standalong and it coincides nicely with The Stephen King Project I'm hosting with Kathleen. Join if you want to, runs all year.


  1. Yes! The Abagail/Abigail thing has been bugging me for weeks! Also, I'm pretty sure she's been both 106 and 108 years old. She's 108 in most of the book, but 106 in the mini-series.
    Stu's taste in women leaves a lot to be desired. But otherwise, he's my favorite character.

  2. I must have unconsciously dismissed the Abagail/Abigail spelling issue. That's absolutely silly and King MUST have had a purpose. I mean, the man pays big bucks for good editors, right?

    Harold oh Harold. That kid, to me, is more despicable than Trash even though Trash is more dangerous than Harold. I guess I just figure Trash has a for real psychotic problem and if he was a pyromaniac in today's world, he'd be institutionalized or at least given a few rounds of ECT. Harold? he's just an arse.

  3. I haven't gotten quite as far as you have. We will keep reading though.

  4. Love all your insights here. All I wanted to ever do is bitch-slap Frannie. Both in the book and in the mini-series. And there are lots of creepy things here, but more than anything, like many of King's books, is the STORY. All the storytelling and character development. The biggest and best development in the whole book is Larry. It will touch you.

  5. In Stu's defense, the post-apocalyptic pickings are a little slim. :-)

  6. I didn't notice the Abagail/Abigail thing, but Jill mentioned it too! I also loved Kojak's perspective. That was great. Frannie also annoys me! Thank god it's not just me. I think Stu is the kind of guy who likes to protect people and Fran is so darn protectable. And annoying.

  7. I'm listening about 75% of the time so haven't noticed the spelling inconsistencies. I haven't gotten to Kojak's perspective (I don't think) and definitely not the committee but I can only imagine if Cullen is involved.

    I'm the opposite of you--I find the thought of what Flagg is doing out in the dessert so much more frightening than everyone dying of Captain Trips. What I don't get is how everyone just happened to die in their cars while driving. Or did one person crash and then there was a giant accident and everyone died in the crash? I miss a lot of things while listening so maybe this was addressed but it's so irking me!

    And YES about Frannie. So hard to be sympathetic to her! She's a survivor. Start acting like one!

  8. So glad that you guys are having a good time with this one, and Ben Affleck to direct it? Wow! That will be an amazing movie (or mini-series) I didn't read your spoilers, as this is one that I want to read for myself, but I am super excited to hear that it's good!

  9. I read the original version, so I'm kinda glad I missed The Kid thing you mentioned. I loved the Kojak perspective section too! I t broke my heart.

  10. I'm still only about 25% into the novel right now. Stu is my favorite character too. I probably shouldn't have read your post given I now know things I probably shouldn't, but in the scheme of things, I don't think it matters. :-) I can't wait to meet this Mother Abigail!

  11. Larry's walk through the Lincoln Tunnel is uber-creepy. I'm with you hoping he'll end up being less of an annoying jerk. It seems like maybe he might possibly have a less irritating persona in there somewhere...

  12. What a great idea. I love Stephen King! The Stand has been on my TBR for ages...

  13. Frannie became an annoyance to me later in the book, too. She keeps not telling people anything, it's ridiculous!

  14. I had a hard time settling into the characters, but once I did, they grew on me and I love the book. It seems so real at times.