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Customer Review

195 of 216 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling tale of human endurance, May 5, 2000
This review is from: The Long Walk (Mass Market Paperback)
The Long Walk is the second book I have read that was written by King under the name Richard Bachman. It is the in-depth story of how a boy named Ray Garraty must survive the greatest challenge of his life -- the Long Walk. This annual event is summarized as follows: 100 boys start walking; if you walk under 4 miles per hour, you get a warning; after 3 warnings, if you slow down again, you are shot dead. The winner of the Long Walk is the last boy left walking.
Stephen King (a.k.a. Richard Bachman) introduces and develops the characters of many of the boys in the event. As a reader, you get to learn about Garraty, Pete McVries, Hank Olson, Art Baker, Barkovitch, Stebbins, and others, who each have their own personality quirks and ways of looking at life. Each boy has entered the Long Walk for a different reason and I found their discussions about life and death to be quite interesting (a social statement by King, perhaps?). The reader is led along the course and each significant event is mentioned along the way, with some unexpected occurrences that may surprise you.
As the challenge narrows down from the original 100 competitors to less than 50, then to just a handful of boys remaining, the scenario becomes rather intense. Who will die next? How will he die? And most importantly, who will be left at the end to claim the Prize? Although the suspense builds slowly, it tends to add to the dramatic effect of the final moments and keep the reader wanting to read more to find out what happens (I was so eager to find out that I read the last half of the book in one sitting).
Although the story is interesting and held my attention, there are a couple of criticisms that knocked it down from 5 to 4 stars. First, the ending was too predictable. I had a feeling from the start of what would happen and being verified at the end tended to downplay the whole story. Second, some of the characters were killed off rather abruptly without much detail or explanation. I guess it just depends on what you are expecting and how you interpret the story.
Overall, I have to say that I enjoyed reading the Long Walk. It tests the limits of human endurance in a unique way and makes the reader think about life and death in a new light (or at least I did). Unlike many of King's other novels, the Long Walk is more of dramatic suspense story rather than a horror story, which is what I have noticed about his writing as Richard Bachman. It is a good read, however, and I recommend it to anyone, whether you are a fan of Stephen King or not.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 31, 2007 11:37:33 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 31, 2007 11:38:10 AM PDT
Thanks. Thanks a lot. Thanks for giving the whole book away in your first paragraph. Why do I need to read it now? Way to go. Good job.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2008 4:48:37 PM PST
rickzz says:
The previous post is silly- the premise of the book is openly stated on the cover and in all reviews of the book. The story is in how it plays out, not the premise. His sarcasm is VERY unfair- possibly like my post :)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2008 8:38:33 AM PST
porkchop says:
Nothing was given away in that review -- don't worry. Also, I didn't find the ending predictable, or, if you can predict the ending, it doesn't take away from how good it is. I can't believe anyone would think the deaths were too abrupt. Some went by fast, but such is the nature of the Walk. Many of the deaths were very detailed, shocking, and graphic.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2009 2:13:14 PM PDT
M. Nesius says:
How can there be any doubt from page one that Garraty wins? He's narrating the story! If he dies, the story ends. Honestly...

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 9:49:28 PM PDT
The ending is ambiguous, so how can it be predictable?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2010 1:02:26 AM PST
"He's narrating the story!"

Garraty is not narrating the story. It's told in third-person.

Posted on May 8, 2010 12:33:15 PM PDT
i just polished off Stephen King's (Richard Bachman's) "The Long Walk" .. what a non-stop, put down read it was, BUT if i wasnt a king fan/follower i would've been a bit disappointed in the ending. e

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2016 2:32:33 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 2, 2016 2:33:46 PM PST
I always tell whether.the book is worth reading and not what it is about. That said this is a great book I am considering rereading. King"s always is accurate on how people treat each other in dire circumstances...it's a 5 star for sure
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