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Friday, January 8, 2016

The Long Walk: A Novel

A friend and I were speaking about our favorite Stephen King books, and I am fully behind The Green Mile. He, however, was adamant about The Long Walk. We agreed to read the other's favorite and discuss.

It's an annual tradition. 100 boys are chosen for The Long Walk in the spring. You will receive three warnings, and after that, it's done for you. If you fall below a certain pace, that's a warning. If you step out of bounds, that's all three. The winner, though, will live in infamy forever. The Long Walk has been happening for as long as these boys have been alive, and it's an exclusive club -- almost every boy in America applies. Few get in. Rain or shine. No stopping. Hopefully you will make it to the end. Otherwise...

This book was particularly interesting because I wasn't entirely sure whether or not I bought the idea that the main character was going to survive until the end. I won't tell you whether he does or not, because it gives away the ending, but I can honestly say that I spent the entire book in a state of curiosity as to what exactly king was trying to do. I like the character of Garrity, and I found him to be the most compelling for the last two thirds of the book, simply because he became a real human being. I can't see that my feet started to hurt the way that my friends did when he read this book, but I definitely felt the humanity of these boys who were walking nonstop throughout the day and night. It made my heart hurt. 

The hardest part that I had was this book was the inhumanity of the task at hand. Soldiers killed boys who can't make it, or those who receive more than three warnings for slowing down or other offenses. I don't know if it's just me, but as I get older I have less of a propensity for dealing with violence in media. This, of course, coming from a girl whose top five favorite books tend to be incredibly violent book. (Read: The Iliad, The Road, I Am Pilgrim, The Green Mile, etc.) for some reason, in this book the violent seem to be completely unnecessary. What I mean by this is not that King shouldn't have written the book, but that the circumstances set up by King in the book made the violence seem incredibly unfair. I hope that makes sense, as it's not a criticism of King's writing, rather it's a criticism of the dystopian future that King writes about in the book.

So yes, it's entirely accurate to say that I enjoyed this book, however, when I sit down with my friend to discuss our two favorite Stephen King books, I stand by The Green Mile as my favorite. I did enjoy this book, absolutely, but I stand by my original choice.

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