SPOILERS: Alternate ending for Doctor Sleep

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Scott Sakatch

New Member
Dec 23, 2013
1
6
50
Lethbridge, Alberta
As much as I enjoyed Doctor Sleep, I have to say I was disappointed with the ending. I understand King is a fan of AA, but by the denouement, Doctor Sleep had turned into an instructional manual for it. It just doesn't ring true to me, and King says clearly in On Writing that writers always need to tell the truth.

I know how presumptuous this is, but hey, it's a message board. So here's what I think the truth was. Instead of finally admitting the incident with Deenie at his anniversary AA meeting, Dan remains quiet. Later, the teenaged Abra is punished for getting drunk (not just "sipping" alcohol) at a party and breaks the plates. Dan meets with her and shows her his memories of his father's decline at the Overlook. Then he shares the ending and aftermath of The Shining and explains why he began drinking in the first place. Finally he shows her the memory of Deenie's baby and the "canny." She tells him to forgive himself and tearfully vows never to drink again.

OK, so let me have it for second-guessing the master!!
 

Hall Monitor

All bars serve the Beam.
Nov 7, 2013
187
1,012
New Jersey
Hey Scott,

I didn't have a problem with the ending, nor do I see any problem with yours. In SKs ending, Dan has grown to a higher level of self-understanding due to the events of the novel, and finds the strength to vanquish his personal demons as his father never could. In your version, the end result is the same, but he is not able to find the courage himself and is driven to it by his love for Abra and his need to protect her. Is one version better than the other? That is up for personal tastes, but I for one won't get on your case about second-guessing the master. You weren't satisfied, and instead of just complaining about it, you provided an alternative. I respect that.
 

carrie's younger brother

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2012
5,428
25,645
NJ
As much as I enjoyed Doctor Sleep, I have to say I was disappointed with the ending. I understand King is a fan of AA, but by the denouement, Doctor Sleep had turned into an instructional manual for it. It just doesn't ring true to me, and King says clearly in On Writing that writers always need to tell the truth.

I know how presumptuous this is, but hey, it's a message board. So here's what I think the truth was. Instead of finally admitting the incident with Deenie at his anniversary AA meeting, Dan remains quiet. Later, the teenaged Abra is punished for getting drunk (not just "sipping" alcohol) at a party and breaks the plates. Dan meets with her and shows her his memories of his father's decline at the Overlook. Then he shares the ending and aftermath of The Shining and explains why he began drinking in the first place. Finally he shows her the memory of Deenie's baby and the "canny." She tells him to forgive himself and tearfully vows never to drink again.

OK, so let me have it for second-guessing the master!!
I wasn't a fan of SK's ending and not a fan of yours either. Hey! You and SK have something in common now! :nudge:
 

skimom2

Just moseyin' through...
Oct 9, 2013
15,675
92,054
USA
I like that you gave this thought, Scott.

Where the original ending works, though, is in keeping the characters true and their growth level. At that point, Dan was ready to cage his demon--after all, he'd just proof that redemption was available for even the vilest evil--attempted infanticide--
when his father returned to help him. Prior to that, he was worried that his family 'curse' was DNA deep; continuance down the road of alcoholism and denial of his deepest secrets would have flown in the face of all that had come before.

Abra, too, had her own row to hoe. She was still a teen, demonstrated by the smashing of the dishes, but she was not a crier--nowhere in the narrative did she show that tendency, even when she was kidnapped and in grave danger.

The scenario you suggest is satisfying on some levels, but to write it thus would add a Lifetime movie quality that Mr. King seemed to be trying to avoid (while still keeping all main characters alive--SO non typical for him!). Part of writing well is remembering who your characters are and aren't.

Welcome to the board!
 
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Liselle

Well-Known Member
Jul 10, 2006
1,586
1,448
47
England
The thing with endings is that there is always someone who doesn't like them. I was happy with the ending, I'm sure I could have ended it differently if I was so inclined but then who is to say my ending would be any better received. If it ended the way you envisage I could guarantee that there would be people writing that they didn't like the ending and it should have ended a different way. So I always appreciate an ending even if I don't necessarily agree with it because that is how Mr King has decided it should end.
 

doowopgirl

very avid fan
Aug 7, 2009
6,859
24,434
61
dublin ireland
The thing with endings is that there is always someone who doesn't like them. I was happy with the ending, I'm sure I could have ended it differently if I was so inclined but then who is to say my ending would be any better received. If it ended the way you envisage I could guarantee that there would be people writing that they didn't like the ending and it should have ended a different way. So I always appreciate an ending even if I don't necessarily agree with it because that is how Mr King has decided it should end.
I liked the ending of Dr. Sleep. However I never liked the ending of Under te Dome. I know that washow SK decided, but even though I loved the book, I just didn't like the end. I've read it twice and just didn't like it.
 

OpenSesame

New Member
Jan 11, 2014
3
7
40
May I suggest an alternate ending to your alternate ending? ;)

I also found the scene unsatisfying where Dan tells all to his AA meeting, because he didn't focus on or reveal what I thought was the worst aspect of his encounter with Deenie: that he knew her toddler was being abused and did nothing about it, then or later. I thought it was totally missing the point that, a decade later, he's still feeling guilty over taking someone's last $70. That wasn't his rock bottom - his rock bottom was that a child ended up bashed to death partly due to his inaction and selfishness!

So perhaps there could have been, in addition to Dan's AA 'tell-all', the scene you suggest where he warns Abra of the dangers of alcohol - plus, he could have 'shown' her the true extent of his rotten behaviour: letting a vulnerable child (one just like her or the baseball boy) become the victim of a horrific death. So he'd be revealing the worst aspect of his past nature to the person he cares most about, but also redeeming himself by 'saving' her from going down the same path.
 
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FlakeNoir

Original Kiwi© SKMB®
Moderator
Apr 11, 2006
42,131
164,922
New Zealand
May I suggest an alternate ending to your alternate ending? ;)

I also found the scene unsatisfying where Dan tells all to his AA meeting, because he didn't focus on or reveal what I thought was the worst aspect of his encounter with Deenie: that he knew her toddler was being abused and did nothing about it, then or later. I thought it was totally missing the point that, a decade later, he's still feeling guilty over taking someone's last $70. That wasn't his rock bottom - his rock bottom was that a child ended up bashed to death partly due to his inaction and selfishness!

So perhaps there could have been, in addition to Dan's AA 'tell-all', the scene you suggest where he warns Abra of the dangers of alcohol - plus, he could have 'shown' her the true extent of his rotten behaviour: letting a vulnerable child (one just like her or the baseball boy) become the victim of a horrific death. So he'd be revealing the worst aspect of his past nature to the person he cares most about, but also redeeming himself by 'saving' her from going down the same path.
Welcome to the board. :)
 

Sundrop

Sunny the Great & Wonderful
Jun 12, 2008
26,978
144,518
I didn't have any problem with the ending. It is Stephen King's story, so it ends his way....

I always enjoy it though, when someone decides to write their own version of a "better ending"......sometimes, I laugh and laugh and laugh
 

Neesy

#1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side
May 24, 2012
59,561
227,593
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
May I suggest an alternate ending to your alternate ending? ;)

I also found the scene unsatisfying where Dan tells all to his AA meeting, because he didn't focus on or reveal what I thought was the worst aspect of his encounter with Deenie: that he knew her toddler was being abused and did nothing about it, then or later. I thought it was totally missing the point that, a decade later, he's still feeling guilty over taking someone's last $70. That wasn't his rock bottom - his rock bottom was that a child ended up bashed to death partly due to his inaction and selfishness!

So perhaps there could have been, in addition to Dan's AA 'tell-all', the scene you suggest where he warns Abra of the dangers of alcohol - plus, he could have 'shown' her the true extent of his rotten behaviour: letting a vulnerable child (one just like her or the baseball boy) become the victim of a horrific death. So he'd be revealing the worst aspect of his past nature to the person he cares most about, but also redeeming himself by 'saving' her from going down the same path.
Welcome to SKMB OpenSesame

Your alternate ending sounds a bit "preachy" to me. Maybe Stephen King could write something like that, but to me it sounds like someone trying to cover all the bases. (just my opinion, no offense intended).
 
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FlakeNoir

Original Kiwi© SKMB®
Moderator
Apr 11, 2006
42,131
164,922
New Zealand
I actually had also...
felt that Dan didn't quite get there when he was 'coming clean' about what his bottom was. But then, I'd wondered whether this was just another part of the alcoholic condition? The constant battle with getting up and staying up?
 
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