The Long Walk
by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
Summary: On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as “The Long Walk”. If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying…
Source: I borrowed my stepmom’s paperback.
I loved The Long Walk. My stepmom explained it best by saying it was almost like a Stephen King version of The Hunger Games, which piqued my interest. I basically devoured the book on the plane ride home after visiting her.
Now, since it’s already been compared, I’ll say that it’s not nearly the same at all. But the contest itself and the consequences of not being the winner and society’s fascination with the contestants is very similar, so the basic elements of why I feel stories like those exist were there and that was an apt enough comparison for me.
In The Long Walk, 100 boys took a walk every year. The winner would receive everything he could ever want. The rules were very clear. Keep a 4 mile an hour pace. At all times. Until you’re the only one left. The Long Walk was terrifying. Like Ray, once I understood what the consequences were, it still shocked me every time it happened. It seemed so brutal. The walk was agonizing. It was so inhumane. It was shocking.
Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the fact that it didn’t overshare. I have no idea why the event happened. I don’t know what happens to the winners afterwards. I don’t know what makes the world in the book different from ours. But the fact that it was so vague made it linger in my brain longer. It wasn’t trying to be some dystopian novel that went from apocalypse to new government system. It was just a horrifying story that has it’s place and was terrifying in it’s own right.
I highly recommend the book. It was a quick read (for a Stephen King book, anyway) and it was absolutely fascinating.