Title: Different Seasons
Author: Stephen King
Page Count/Review Word Count:560
Different Seasons is an interesting book because it’s one of King’s earlier releases and so it retains a lot of that early King flair that so characterises his early work. It also stands out because it’s not one novel but rather a collection of four different novellas, some of which I enjoyed more than others.
The first one is Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, and you might already be familiar with it because of the movie. I actually prefer the movie and thought that the story was only so so, with little in the way of an actual plot. It follows the story of a man who’s been jailed for murder but who claims he’s innocent. With nothing but time on his hands, he starts a project to take his mind off the incarceration.
The next one up was probably my favourite, a story called Apt Pupil which is about the unusual relationship between a young boy and an elderly Nazi. The boy basically blackmails the Nazi into reliving his days as an officer at a German concentration camp and the story follows the effect that has on his mind and personality. It asks you as the reader a lot of questions, and while it’s always kind of bleak to read about Nazis, I found this nevertheless enjoyable.
Next is The Body, which has been adapted into a film called Stand By Me. It’s kind of a coming-of-age story about a group of kids who set out to find a missing kid from a nearby neighbourhood and what happens to them along the way. Each of the kids has a crappy home life including abusive family members and as they set out on this journey, they struggle to wrap their heads around the situation that they find themselves in.
The final story in this collection is The Breathing Method, which was probably my second favourite. This is a story within a story, effectively taking the form of an oral tale that’s told inside the walls of an unusual take on the classic gentleman’s club. The tale is about a woman who’s determined to give birth at all costs, and it gets pretty graphic down the line as she nears her due date. It’s not one for the squeamish, nor for those who are pregnant, but it is a great story nonetheless.
Overall then, there’s a lot to be said about this collection, and while I didn’t think all of the stories were famtastic, Apt Pupil and The Breathing Method alone make this worth reading, and you’ll probably want to read the other two because they’re high profile ones thanks to the film versions. That said, you’d better clear a gap in your schedule if you’re hoping to read it from cover to cover without switching to another book, because it comes in at 560 pages of pretty small print.
Still, I’m glad that I read it, and while it wasn’t a five-star read for me, it did still live up to King’s impressive reputation and makes a nice little addition to my collection of King books. I think I’ll take a little break before I embark on another one, though. It eats up a lot of time. You know how it is.