Different Seasons is a collection of four novellas, broken down into seasons of the year, that remain some of King’s most spectacular and noteworthy works to date, having had three of the novellas turned into films. The first novella, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, is, oddly enough for a King work, a tale of hope. The novella was later turned into the critically acclaimed film, The Shawshank Redemption, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.
As Andy Dufrense has recently been convicted for the double murder of his wife and her lover, Andy is sent to Maine’s Shawshank State Prison to serve a life sentence for each of his victims. A banker in his past life as a free man, Andy begins to do the taxes and financial work for many of the prison’s personnel and, as such, brings hope to the life of Red, a man serving three life sentences who was previously without hope before Andy’s arrival.
The second novella, Apt Pupil, also enjoyed a film interpretation directed by Bryan Singer and starring Ian McKellan. The story of a boy who becomes obsessed with the Jewish Holocaust and discovers a former Nazi soldier living within the town he resides is a dark tale focusing on obsessions of a more dark nature and the harm they can bring to the obsessed.
The third novella in Different Seasons, The Body, was the inspiration for the film Stand By Me starring the late River Phoenix. The Body takes a concept King is familiar with and has been explored in novels such as It and Dreamcatcher, the companionship between childhood friends, and brings a sort of bittersweet drama to the tale. This tale of four boys who set out to find the recently discovered body of a boy not far from their own age is a tale of innocence lost and bonds made stronger. It’s a beautiful tale that tears at the heart and makes the reader question his or her own life and friendship bonds.
The fourth and final entry in the collection is brief, but powerful. Breathing Lessons tells the story of a group of men who meet and share stories within a brownstone in New York. In Breathing Lessons, a doctor tells a most unusual story of a pregnant patient about to give birth under tremendous circumstances.
Different Seasons deserves a place among Delores Claiborne and Salems Lot as one of King’s most powerful works within his career. Readers, either King fans or not, will enjoy and revel in the drama contained within the selections in Different Seasons and perhaps even grow to appreciate the author more than before.
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