While I love Kubrick's film to pieces, I admit that everything I love about it is present in the novel, with more besides. When I picked up the book, I expected to react to it in the same way as the movie: to find the characters only lightly engaging, and to be urging the Overlook Hotel to get around to the insanity to inject some excitement into the story. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, this time around, I was actually rooting for Jack. In fact, while his loss of sanity was a forgone conclusion, I was hoping the Torrence family as a unit would survive. It made the story all the more tragic and poignant to watch the dissolution of a family of generally good and likable, if flawed, people instead of cardboard cutouts as the novel reached its nightmarish crescendo. The Shining is by no means a perfect book, and I hardly wish to insult as fine a film as its "adaptation." But that's just it: the two are essentially different stories. If you find anything you like in the movie, you would be doing yourself a disservice not to read King's novel.
Jack Torrance sees his stint as winter caretaker of a Colorado hotel as a way back from failure, his wife sees it as a chance to preserve their family, and their five-year-old son sees the evil waiting just for them.