When I read The Passage a few months back, I found myself comparing it to Stephen King’s The Stand. I mean, it’s hard not to given they are both epic novels dealing with similar themes. There’s a virus, a clear good vs. evil theme, a mysterious black women to lead the good, and a dark, wickedly bad man to lead the corrupted.
Although I listed The Passage as one of my favorites for 2010, it didn’t hold the same place in my heart as The Stand did. You see, I read The Stand when I was 20 and as you can imagine, so much happens in your twenties. I was in college, working, trying to juggle it all on very little sleep and just trying to figure out who I was and who I wanted to be. During this time The Stand seemed larger than life to me.
So, when I mentioned how much The Passage reminded me of The Stand, a couple of other bloggers agreed. I then got it in my head that I had to re-read The Stand and Jill and Michele agreed to some along for the ride. Aren’t they nice?
What I had planned to do is post a comparison post to discuss the two books, but things don’t always go as planned. I was incredibly distracted by this re-read and had the hardest time getting through it. This time around, I decided to read the complete and uncut version which is nearly 1200 pages long.
The length of a novel does not scare me but I chose to read it on my Kindle and there was some cruel, joke being played on me. You see, there are no page numbers on a Kindle, so you gauge your progress via the progress bar at the bottom of the screen. Well, once I got to 65%, it stayed there…FOREVER! No joke. Michele and Jill sailed ahead of me, chapters at a time yet my progress bar was static. This had a huge effect on my enjoyment of the novel. I found myself irritated over every little thing. Yes, I could see the chapters going by, but with an epic of this size, you really need to see that progress bar move and for whatever reason it got stuck there for me.
So while the others wrapped-up their reading, I was STILL reading because let’s face it, I was dreading the experience. This disappointed me quite a bit, because the book that I loved in my 20’s was causing me great angst. I started to focus on the negatives. How on God’s green earth could these people have food for so long? No one seemed to be concerned about food or water and I know that would be a huge concern for me.
But, in a moment of frustration I downloaded new firmware and all of a sudden the progress bar started to work again. I can’t tell you how good it felt to see progress. In turn, my opinion of the book changed again. It was once again the book of my 20’s. The one thing that came rushing back to me, is that King has such a knack for bringing his characters to life. So many characters, yet each of them distinct.
Although I had planned for this to be an entirely different kind of post, in the end it’s just reassuring that the book that I had such high regard for n my twenties, is in fact still wonderful today. I wouldn’t say that either one, The Passage or The Stand is better than the other, or that they are exact replicas of each other (because they aren’t) but they are each great in their own way.
Today happens to be Stephen King’s birthday!! Happy Birthday, Stephen! May you continue to impress twenty-somethings, and forty-somethings alike!