Title: The Stand
Author: Stephen King
Original Publication Date: 1978 / 1991
Date I First Read: 1991 / 1991
Basic Category: Fiction / Apocalypse
Basic Summary: A virus gets out of a government facility (because in this particular version of the world, a creature known as Randall Flagg makes this happen) and spreads through the world in a matter of days. 99% of the world’s population dies. The survivors pick a side and gather together to fight the forces of evil.
Note there is the first version, which was heavily edited and published in 1978. I read this book early in 1991. Then the expanded “uncut” edition came out the following summer. I had to wait in line to get that one from the library! I savored it when I finally got my hands on it. Fortunately it was during the summer so that I had time to read it before school started again.
What I Remember About the Book: Stu and Fran. The baby. Mother Abigail. The flu spreading. Nick Andros. (No, I didn’t name my son after him. I didn’t even think about that until now.) Harold.
What I Took Away From the Book: Worry about what I would do if I would survive (be immune) such a disaster. My asthma was not very much under control at the time. I realized that I would have to break into a few pharmacies and take all of the albuterol inhalers I could get my hands on to keep myself alive.
And learn how to ride a motorcycle, even though I dislike motorcyles.
Rating (1-5 stars): 4.5 (The lack of good well-written women, even twenty years ago as a teen bothered me. However, I still liked the whole story very much!)
Today [the day I wrote the review and posted on LibraryThing], at the grocery store, I saw vitamin C tablets. My first impulse was to stock up and buy them all . . . which sums up the impact this book had on me this week. Near the end of the book, the local doctor explains that a lot of people had scurvy and the vitamin C was worth its weight in gold.
Overall, this disaster novel was powerful . . . I could not put it down and stayed up half of the night to finish it. Every few years, a disaster (particularly earth science-related) book gets my attention that pulls me in immediately. I look forward to the sequel.
I have to agree with another reviewer, in that I wish we had a chance to get to know the protagonist, Alex, a little more in the time before the disaster (the huge dormant volcano under Yellowstone blows, and Iowa is in the “red zone”). We get hints as to his previous life, but they are brief and fleeting. What we know most is that he is good at tae kwan do, because that comes in handy in his travels to reconnect with his family.