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Different Seasons

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

17 out of 18 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 March 23, 2004

    The Body!!!

    The Body is my favorite story ever and I absolutely ADORE the movie as well. I saw the movie Stand By Me first and developed a bit of an obsession with all things Stand By Me. The book is better as far as detsils go and has a lot more information on the storyline. i felt that all of the characters were extremely well developed (though my favorite was Chris) But all of them are great and I recommend the book (and the movie) To ANYONE!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2003

    The Body is the best damn story in the book

    I really like this book. the body was my favorite. It was a great adventure of kids finding a dead body. I read this story fist when i was 13 because the kids were my age. But now as an adult i enjoy it even more. Especially the Shawshank redemption.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2003

    Among King's better books

    Not your typical collection of King horror stories, 'Different Seasons' shows King's versatility at delivering high entertainment without resorting to more standard scare tactics. 'Apt Pupil' is by far the most disturbing of the four stories, in which King provides a look at the demons inside a former Nazi, and a young kid determined to bring this out of the old man. 'The Body' shows King's talent at writing coming of age stories, and developing the mystique of childhood adventures. A very entertaining story. 'The Shawshank Redemption' is memorable and uplifting, minus any obvious horror, and thus showing a seldom seen facet of King. The fourth story wasn't as interesting to me. Overall though, a very good book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2002

    The Most Disturbing Collection of Story You WIll Ever Read!

    Cool and Creepy. Apt Pupil made me relize the human facination with blood and misery. It was the best thing I've ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2002

    Mesmerizing

    Mesmerizing: What else is there to say about this book? With the exception of 'Catcher in the Rye', I have never enjoyed a book more so than this. The four stories combined are a breath-taking break from reality, and thats nice for a change. Or should I say that its a pleasent bit of reality; Because with the exception of 'The Breaking Method' (the fourth and last of the stories), the stories describe reality at its best; or in some instances, reality at its worst. The first of the four is about a wrongly accused man whom is sent to prison for what is to be the rest of his natural life. It describes his trials and tribulations that he had to endure during his 'Stay' at Shawshank. It deals with some of the more 'gorry' details of prison, but is never over the line with any descriptions. The ending truly messes with your mind, as you might've been able to pick up the signs, but were too involved in the story to take notice to such small details. It was made into a movie entitled 'The Shawshank Redemption' which today is one of my favorite movies. Two of the other Three stories (Both 'Apt. Pupil' and 'The Body') were also made into films, however the Story 'The Body' had it's name changed to 'Stand By Me'. I believe it was changed because it wanted to focus more on the bindings of childhood friends, rather than the finding of the body. All in all, This was a horrifically Dazzling book, and I plan to read all four this summer perhaps.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2002

    Great Book

    This is a great book. Even if you not a Stephen King fan I would recommend this book it has everthing you want. If it is an uplifting story you want, then read it for The Shawshank Redemtion or the Body. If it is a good disturbing story you want, then read Apt Pupil, and if you want horror, then get it for the Breathing Method.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2001

    It'll take you through the year.

    I think that this book was written quite well. As are all books written by Stehen King. He has been my favorite author since I was seven (I am 16 now). I got started with his writings because of the movie Christine. His books have only gotten better over the years. He is a wondrful writer and this book shows some of his talent.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2001

    Stephen King Proves He's More Than Just a Horror Writer!

    This was an incredible read. I borrowed the book from my cousin after watching and loving The Shawshank Redemption for about the fiftieth time! After finishing that story , I went on to read the rest, and found I liked them just as well if not better. My favorite story was 'The Body.' I was extremely impressed with King's character development in this story. Chris Chambers, in particular, was developed well as a bright, sensitive kid from a bad family who must overcome the town's poor expectations of him. This is a great collection of novellas, and for those of you who, like me, are not big horror fans, here is your chance to enjoy the writing of an extremely talented author without having nightmares. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2001

    A Great Novella

    King knows what he's writing about in this novella. The Rita Hayworth & The Shawshank Redemption and Body stories are THE best!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2000

    Great Book

    The stories were amazingly outstanding.The Body was the best story in the novella,my opinion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2000

    BRILLIANT

    The storys were wonderfully delightful. Each one had me hooked, it was difficult to put the book down. I especially loved 'The Body' but they were all terrific!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2000

    Take a Short Break

    These 3 stories are different in plot, but similar in the exploration of the human mind under difficult circumstances. I found them interesting reading. If you need to take a short break or do some in-between reading, then this is the book for you. It is easy, intelligent reading. 2 of these stories were adapted for the big screen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2000

    One of King's best!

    If you're in the mood for Stephen King but don't want to read a 800 page novel, this collection of short stories is ideal. Every one of these stories has it's own unique flavor, which makes for a great collection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2000

    An Inspireing New Light

    The four novellas in The Different Seasons are truely enchanting. The Shawshank Redemption keeps your nose in the book. Apt Pupil is a disturbing story, gaurenteed to make the reader think. The Body touches the heart and brings forward great emotion. The nevellas shed a different light on the author known for horror.

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    Posted October 29, 2008

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    Posted September 4, 2014

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    Posted June 3, 2011

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