Customer Reviews for

Different Seasons

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

19 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Some of King's best work is here

Different Seasons is a showcase for Stephen King. Four diverse novellas, only one of them the kind of horror tale he is synonymous with (and it may be the weakest of the bunch).

The book is divided into four 'seasons': Hope Springs Eternal (Rita Hayworth and the Shaw...
Different Seasons is a showcase for Stephen King. Four diverse novellas, only one of them the kind of horror tale he is synonymous with (and it may be the weakest of the bunch).

The book is divided into four 'seasons': Hope Springs Eternal (Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption), Summer of Corruption (Apt Pupil), Fall From Innocence (The Body) and A Winter's Tale (The Breathing Method). The tones of the stories alternate between light and dark, with Apt Pupil perhaps being the darkest thing he has ever written.

Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption is a mini-masterpiece of a tale. A tale of hope set in a prison, dealing with a man whose spirit remains free despite all obstacles. I'd originally read it years before the legendary movie, and was worried that it wouldn't be quite the same reading it now. Luckily King's narrative holds up. Even knowing what was coming, the story telling was as gripping as ever.

Apt Pupil. I was almost dreading rereading Apt Pupil. A well written but morally disturbing tale of the mutually parasitic relationship between a young California golden boy and the Nazi war criminal he has blackmailed. It is an excellent dark thriller, but it is so powerfully written and so pitch black, you are kept in suspense while feeling the need to cleanse yourself of the story being told. I remember the 'Bachman book' Rage felt a little like this, but Apt Pupil provokes a much stronger reaction and is a better book overall.

Third up is The Body which was famously (and very faithfully) adapted into the movie Stand By Me. This is Stephen King's coming of age tale of four boys in 1960 who head out through the woods to find the body of a boy that was struck by a train.

Though all four of the stories are top-notch Stephen King, I believe I enjoyed The Body the most. King so expertly captures the bittersweet feeling of the boys, two of which at least understand that they are going through a life changing experience; that things will not be the same from here on.

The Breathing Method is the closest to Stephen King's 'typical' supernatural spook story. This one (appropriately dedicated to Peter Straub) seems to be King's answer to Straub's Chowder Society (see Straub's Ghost Story), as it deals with a group of old men that belong to a mysterious 'gentleman's club' where they tell each other stories.

Earlier I called The Breathing Method the weakest story here. It is, but please don't take that to mean that the story isn't worth reading. It is a good read that only pales because the other three stories shine so brightly.

This is the book I would loan to someone who looked down on King without reading any of his work. He shows that while he can write some very scary spook stories, that isn't why he sells so many books. Each of the four stories is King writing at the top of the game. There's a reason three of the four stories have been turned into movies and they are three of the best screen adaptations he's had.

posted by jseger9000 on September 29, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

King's finest collection

From beginning to end,certainly the best collection of short fiction I've read. They should make movies out of some of these stories.

posted by Anonymous on February 22, 2003

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2003

    King's finest collection

    From beginning to end,certainly the best collection of short fiction I've read. They should make movies out of some of these stories.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2014

    Timeless

    Love it.

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