I have been a Stephen King fan for years. Whether the work by published under his name, or under his pen name, Richard Bachman (much like this very novel), I am happily open to reading whatever this man writes. One day, my boyfriend decided to buy The Long Walk and give it a read, and even he was raving about it; he had never read a King novel before. So as soon as he was finished, I borrowed the book and finished it within a couple of days.
The Long Walk tells the story of an alternate history where the national sport is walking. A hundred teen boys tie up their shoes and start walking somewhere near the Maine/Canada border. If a Walker drops below four mph, he receives a warning (a warning which may disappear if he walks for an hour without another warning); after three warnings, the boy gets shot. The last surviving boy wins the prize of whatever he wants for the rest of his life.
This particular walk introduces the reader to Ray Garraty and the Walkers competing with him. After a while, the Walkers realize that it is more beneficial t all of them to work together and support each other, as the soldiers and “the Major” who watch over the event are not so kind.
I’ve read a handful of King’s novels so far, and this one was easily my favourite. I was reading it at every free moment I had – on the bus, between classes; I needed to know what was going to happen. The reason this book is so inspirational to me as a writer is because King writes in the same way I do. He takes seemingly boring tasks, such as non-stop walking, and turns it into a spectacle. Boys get sick, go insane, get murdered – the walk becomes that much more interesting because of King’s descriptions.
If you’re planning on reading one Stephen King novel in your entire life, I highly suggest you make it The Long Walk.