Macabre...ish: The Long Walk Review & Impact

 

I read The Long Walk by Stephen King every year and when I’m in a rut or am just struggling to get my stride or make decisions. It puts me in the headspace of a level of bleakness that makes it easy for me to make a decision. That book, amongst others he’s written, put my life in perspective.

It’s about a walk that happens every year, there 100 men in every walk. They all willingly sign up and submit to a battery of tests and if they pass then they’re accepted into the walk. They all show up on the appointed day, time and place, roll call is taken and they’re given their numbers and the rules.

  1. Stay at or above 4 miles per hour
  2. Do not interfere with other walkers
  3. Do not wander off the road
  4. If you want another canteen you must personally request one
  5. The Walk only stops once
  6. You get 3 warnings before you get your ticket
  7. You drop a warning after a mile with no warning

Anyway the walk begins and goes on until there’s only one man left standing. And generally The Walks last 3 days or so. No stopping, no resting, no sitting, no sleeping.

During The Walk the men make friends and enemies amongst each other. They share their stories and talk about why they’re there, life etc. And as the story goes on the full weight of what they signed up for really starts sinking in and it impacts everyone differently. You see people come to terms with things they otherwise wouldn’t have. They’re walking through states with the full realization that all but one will be spending the rest of their lives on that road.

Every time I read the story, I’m not certain if it’s the horror of it. If it’s the distraction from my own issues or simply the realization that are so many other struggles that I could be wrestling with (and have!). But when life is relatively ho-hum, it’s easy to forget just how bad it can be. Just in my own life I’ve been homeless, a victim of horrific abuse but unless I’m right in the middle of it, sometimes it’s easy to forget that what I’m currently dealing with is nothing. Nothing at all in the scheme of things and The Long Walk is a great reminder.

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