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The student-generated news site of Mount Saint Joseph Academy

The Campanile

The student-generated news site of Mount Saint Joseph Academy

The Campanile

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Bookmarked!: WINTER DYSTOPIAN 2023-24

Over the Winter Break, our reviewers read up on some dystopian literature!
“The Long Walk” by Richard Bachman (Stephen King) details the journey of Ray Garraty and his 99 competitors on the walk of a lifetime.
“The Long Walk” by Richard Bachman (Stephen King) details the journey of Ray Garraty and his 99 competitors on the walk of a lifetime.

For these two months (December 2023 — January 2024), we read The Long Walk by master of horror Stephen King writing under the pen name Richard Bachman. A short summary is provided below:

Against the wishes of his mother, sixteen-year-old Ray Garraty is about to compete in the annual grueling match of stamina and wits known as The Long Walk. One hundred boys must keep a steady pace of four miles per hour without ever stopping… with the winner being awarded “The Prize”—anything he wants for the rest of his life. But, as part of this national tournament that sweeps through a dystopian America year after year, there are some harsh rules that Garraty and ninety-nine others must adhere to in order to beat out the rest. There is no finish line—the winner is the last man standing. Contestants cannot receive any outside aid whatsoever. Slow down under the speed limit and you’re given a warning. Three warnings and you’re out of the game—permanently…


After reading over the break, our reviewers sent in their thoughts! Reviews are below:

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When I picked up this book, I thought it would be a fun little dystopian read. I had already read classics by Stephen King such as The Shining and Carrie, so I expected a type of creeping horror as the other books had presented.

And I was right. Although often overlooked among Stephen King’s collection of books, The Long Walk interweaves a simple idea, walking until one has outwalked all the others, with a multitude of philosophical musings on life, love, and the dark depths of human nature. Raymond Garratty, the protagonist, is selected along with 99 other applicants to be the Walkers of this universe’s annual Long Walk. The Walkers walk from Maine down the East Coast until there is one last man standing who will be given the Prize: anything he wants. The other Walkers? They buy their tickets at the wrong end of the barrel.

This book completely blew my expectations away. Stephen King seamlessly blended the dark history of America’s Trail of Tears, the 1,200 mile forced march of Native Americans from their native lands to reservations. This history looms over the events of The Long Walk, and it exposes readers to the true horror of the event. The presence of the mob who cheers the Walkers leads to philosophical questions of the lengths man is willing to go for hatred underneath a thin veneer of entertainment. I highly recommend The Long Walk to anyone who enjoys philosophical literature, realistic fiction, and slow burn horror.

— Sine Thompson, ‘24



I rate it ⅘ stars.

The Long Walk by Stephen King is a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel about an American national competition where 100 boys walk 450 miles at a 4 mph rate, the winner gets awarded with whatever they want for the rest of their life. If the boys can’t keep up, they die. 

To preface, The Long Walk is not scary in the slightest. Sure, there are graphic descriptions of boys being killed, but in comparison to modern day horrors? It doesn’t stand a chance. I think that says a lot about the desensitization of society and how a horror in 1979 can now be considered a thriller at best. In fact, the level of gore in The Long Walk is pretty similar to The Hunger Games. Just food for thought. Regardless, I found The Long Walk to be a delightful read, it’s entertaining and surprisingly uncomplicated. The characters are all very real and it makes the fictitious environment immersive despite the ridiculous plot. I found the language simple and the worldbuilding was done very well so I was able to really relax while reading. King uses a pretty uneventful plot to dive into the relationships between characters and I think this focus on oddball and complex characters is what drives the interest in the book. We dive into themes such as homosexuality and race and that’s really where we can see the time period that the novel was written in shine through. All in all, The Long Walk was an excellent read and I highly recommend it. 

— Emma Meng, ‘26


Thank you to all of our readers, and tune in next month for your next great read!

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About the Contributor
Sine Thompson
Sine Thompson, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Sine (pronounced Shee-na) is a senior who loves spending her free time hiking, watching interesting movies, and chilling out to music. She is a discus and shotput thrower on the Track & Field team at the Mount and is a leader of numerous clubs, including American Sign Language, Book, and Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Club. Sine is also involved in the Mount Ensemble as a drummer, and she runs Bookmarked!, the Book Review Column at the Campanile. She is looking forward to many future articles!
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    adviserJan 29, 2024 at 7:56 pm

    For sure, The Long Walk is a disturbing read to say the least. I wonder if it will be made into movie? Nice work, Sine and Emma 🙂