Different Seasons - Stephen King

I believe this is the first Stephen King I've read. I generally don't read books or watch movies in the "horror" genre, though that label has become a little broader and harder to define these days. At any rate, King has generally been typed as a horror writer, and I'm just not as interested in scaring myself silly.

The main reason I checked out Different Seasons was to read the long short story "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" since I'd seen the movie several times and I wanted to see what the original story was like. I ended up reading the three other stories in the book as well, to get a feel for King's writing. As it turns out, the stories in this book aren't really what you'd consider "horror," except maybe the last one. They aren't even in the realm of the fantastic or unexplainable, for the most part. In the afterword, King even talks about how he ended up being labeled as a "horror" writer, and that he's okay with it, but he also writes non-horror fiction as well.

"Shawshank" is a great story, whether you watch the movie or read the book. There are differences, of course, as there always will be, but it was comforting to discover that most of the great lines from the movie are lifted verbatim from the book. "Apt Pupil," also made into a movie, is a chilling tale about a young American teenager who discovers an old Nazi soldier hiding in his town. "The Body" (which became the movie "Stand By Me") is a coming-of-age story about four boys who hike out to see the body of a boy hit by a train. Finally, there's "The Breathing Method," which is a little harder to categorize. It's a story within a story, about a sort of story-telling club, and one of the stories told at the club, a bizarre horror story involving Lamaze.

I can't really say what I liked and disliked about King's writing, other than that it flows easily and seems pretty well suited to the stories he tells. There are parts that sound a bit clunky at times, but in general it's a lot like hearing somebody tell a good story, and you don't really stop to consider the words. King himself admits that he doesn't write eloquently, but it's easy to see why he's such a popular writer.

I may yet read some more Stephen King, but I'll probably stick to the non-horror stories for now.

Fed to jonathan's brain | May 02, 2005 | Comments (0)


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