Yeah, yeah, yeah! You’re right. I should have read this decades ago, or just skipped it. But there’s a story behind this super-late reading of The Stand. Here’s what happened.
I bought the complete and uncut edition of The Stand back when it came out in paperback. By that point, I’d plowed through Different Seasons, Tommyknockers, and It and was ready for more.
Things were great! The beginning of the novel, where you get to know the characters who later meet, was quite good. While reading the part where the car with the dead family in it crashes into the service station pump, I realized that there was a little tickle in the back of my throat. The next morning, I woke up with tons of sinus congestion and a fever. Have you ever tried to read The Stand while sick? It was a little too realistic, so I picked up something else.
A couple of years went by and the itch to read a big fat Stephen King novel returned. This time I made it to the tunnel on the way out of Manhattan before I began to sneeze. “You’ve got to be kidding me!” I thought, and put it back down again.
Decades pass. The wheel turns, civilizations rise. The wheel turns, civilizations fall.1 A couple of months ago, I admitted on Facebook that I haven’t actually finished The Stand. My friends who love Stephen King reacted with varying degrees of horror, so it was clearly time to try again.
How far have I gotten this time? As of now, Mother Abigail and the ragtag group of survivors have just lit out for Colorado. Hopefully they’ll get there before the power of suggestion weakens my immune system so much that I catch something.