“Guess what The Stand Girl is reading,” my buddy, Zig, started off the conversation with when he called me a bit ago. That’s exactly what he said, too. Guess what The Stand Girl is reading.
The Stand Girl is one of Zig’s friends. I’ve never met her, but like most good friends, he brings her up in conversation often, and that’s what I know her as. I’m sure he’s told me her real name. Hell, he’s probably mentioned it numerous times before getting tired of me going “Who?” and him replying with “The Stand Girl.” Sometimes you stick with what works. She got the nickname rather easily: One day he told me he had a friend who was a big Stephen King fan. He had talked to her that day and she had just decided to watch the TV version of The Stand straight through one day. People, this is impressive as the miniseries runs about 6 hours. So I asked the next logical question: “Is she single?”
To my dismay, no. She’s married. Jealousy of her husband aside, she became forever known (to me) as The Stand Girl.
So, Zig calls me about a month ago and says, “Guess what The Stand Girl is reading?”
“Oh, duh. Aren’t you reading that now, too?”
“Yeah,” he replied, “and I was talking to Kevin last night and he mentioned he was reading it, too. How odd is that?”
“Shit,” I said, “that is weird. I’ve been wanting to jump back into it lately, too. It’s been ages since I’ve read it.”
“Now’s a good time.”
He was right. I used to read The Stand every two years or so growing up because it’s that good. Hell, when the full uncut edition came out, I read the abridged version, then immediately read the uncut edition. That’s a couple thousand pages, and I enjoyed every word. But I hadn’t read it in years and I was well overdue for a jump into the battle of good and evil.
As I wrote on my facebook wall, what can you say about The Stand that hasn’t already been said? Considered by many, myself included, this is King’s masterpiece. Yes, he’s had great books both before and since The Stand, but the closest he’s come to matching the enjoyment of The Stand is IT.
The Stand is nothing more than a battle of good and evil, plain and simple. But King is at his best here at what he does best; storytelling and characterization. There are a lot of characters in this book, but each one is unique, and I never had any confusion on who was who. This is a big deal for me, as if there are too many characters, or if they are too cookie cut, I have to page back to see who is who (this is no doubt coming from ADD). But not here, no sir. Each player is instantly recognizable.
If there’s one teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy problem I have with the novel is the last 200 – 300 pages seem a little rushed. It’s as if King got to page 1,000 or so and said, “Well, shit, this is going on way to long. I need to wrap this the hell up.” It no way distracts from the book’s enjoyment, but if I’m going to read 1,300 pages, I’m going to read 1,500 if that’s what it takes.
Regardless, The Stand is my favorite book, hands down, no question. It was good to revisit it again.
Now to re-watch the mini-series.