In the near future, where America has become a police state, one hundred boys are selected to enter an annual contest where the winner will be awarded whatever he wants for the rest of his life. The game is simple – maintain a steady walking pace of four miles per hour without stopping. Three warning, and you’re out – permanentlystephenking.com
The Long Walk is a novel set in a future dystopian America where walking is the ultimate championship competition. The story starts with Raymond “Ray” Garraty arriving at the meeting/starting point waiting for the Major to arrive, give instructions and let the Walkers start, well… walking.
As we continue reading we find that there are 100 Walkers and that there are just a few rules. First, they must keep a pace of at least four miles per hour and if they go below that speed, they get a warning. If they collect three warnings then they “buy a ticket” which means they are out of the competition – and life. Quickly you realize that the winner will literally be the last person standing. Or in this case, the last person walking.
You get to know some of the boys walking along with Garraty and their personalities. They encourage each other to keep moving forward, share their plans on how to win, what they would do if they do win and whether they believe they will make it or not. Some of the characters are mean, some of them are not even mentioned and some are very friendly that you quickly get to like them.
They can’t stop, through day and night; through sun and rain; they have to keep walking and they can’t have any contact with anyone outside the Walk. They just have to keep walking, keep up the pace and make their best to not die trying. Ultimately 99 of the Walkers will have to die so there can be a winner. Yikes!
This is part of the Richard Bachman books, a pseudonym that Stephen King used to publish some of his novels. I read it somewhere and I can’t remember where, but this novel was actually one of the first ones that King wrote. This one goes back to his college days I believe. However, it was not published until many years later in 1979.
This book is categorized as psychological horror and a dystopian novel. It definitely keeps you alert and wanting to read more. It has some gruesome details and screams dystopian all the way for sure. Who in the world would accept something like that? Why would a society condone such a competition? I have to say, it is a very twisted concept but an amazingly entertaining reading. How is that possible? I’ll tell you – Stephen King wrote it. Ok, that is just my opinion but I stand behind it 100%.
I definitely enjoyed this novel, it’s probably not going to end up in my favorites just because of the number of questions the book left me with. Or maybe that’s the reason why I liked it so much, it leaves so much room for the imagination. I honestly don’t know, but what I do know is that I didn’t feel the time going by while reading this book. I read it in the Kindle version that I got from Amazon but I want to get a physical copy because I like to have a physical book if I liked the e-book. Crazy me trying to get more books!
I give this book a 4-star rating. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. And also I know for a fact that there are other even more amazing King books out there – I’ve read just a few – so that is my reasoning behind my rating of this book.
I leave you with a quote from the book, one that I found poetic-like and stuck with me for some reason. “Just go on dancing with me like this forever and I’ll never tire. We’ll scrape our shoe on the stars and hang upside down from the moon.” That is intense, don’t you think?
Have you read this book before or are you planning on reading it?