The Long Walk starts out a story of a group of boys entering a contest. Each one must out walk the others and keep on walking till only one remains. That last walker gets his hearts desire, any wish is fulfilled. Doesn’t sound like Stephen King does it? Lol He always has a twist, something to blast your mind and your thoughts wrap around his storyline like a boa squeezing its prey. In a regular contest if you couldn’t walk any farther you just bow out. In the long walk if the boys slow down too much they get a warning, if they get three warnings the soldiers following the group raise their rifles until the forth, there is no warning. You buy a ticket. Yes you heard me right you buy a ticket, the soldiers pull the trigger and the walker dies. Only one walker makes it to the end the rest die.
Now before you brow beat me you learn that almost immediately in the book. Now I can walk a long way, I think most of us can, but not without resting or stretching. The soldiers give you a warning every thirty seconds so there is no resting. You have to keep a steady pace which the soldiers monitor also, if you slow down too much you get a warning. How long could you walk if you couldn’t stop to rest or even slow down. The fear of death is a good motivator, you would keep on walking because you had to. The story turns to the lives of several walkers and their struggles through the walk. Some form friendships and have their little groups and others are loners. Stephen King digs deep into their emotions along the way, emotions and thoughts like “Why did I do this?” The contestants are not forced to enter, each one has to pass a physical and a mental evaluation. If they get picked, it was because they wanted to be in the race, so why did they enter? That is the storyline, why. What would drive you to enter a contest that only one person would survive. Money? Fame?
The story progresses, diving into their lives before the race and through the race. Dealing with the people around them getting shot on a regular basis, which only heightens the fear of their own death. Its a long walk through life in a short span of time. I work in a nursing home and I see the end of peoples lives. They way he describes some of the people turning into mindless walking zombies, walking on will alone. Their faces become blank and lifeless, their eyes stare off into nothingness. It creeped me out because the way he described it reminded me of the despair I see in the elderly. Some of them stare right through you as if they can see into the beyond.
I gave this book 4 1/2 stars, it would have been 5 but I think the end could have been different. Not better because I understand why he ended it the way he did, IMO the end should have been a bit longer and in more detail. As in most Stephen King books he ends it this way. It usually bugs me but he is still my favorite writer and I have become accustomed to it.