This books is four novellas: Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil, The Body and The Breathing Method.
All four novellas are great in the way that the reader is intrigued the whole time trying to figure out how it is all going to end. The Breathing Method is weirdest of the four.
FROM THE BOOK:
RITA HAYWORTH AND THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
An unjustly imprisoned convict seeks a strange and startling revenge...The basis for the Best Picture Academy Award nominee, "The Shawshank Redemption".
Todd Bowden is one of the top students in his high school class and a typical American sixteen-year-old-- until be becomes obesessed with the dark and deadly past of an older man in town. The inspiration for the film "Apt Pupil" from Pheonix Pictures.
Four rambunctious young boys plunge through the facade of a small town and come face-to-face with life, death and intimations of their own mortality. The film "Stand by Me" is based on this novella.
THE BREATHING METHOD
A disgraced woman is determined to triumph over death.
This book includes the stories that the movies The Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, and Apt Pupil were based on. Also included is a story called the Breathing Method that is one of King's better short stories. This is a great read. One of his best collections of novellas.
I've actually never seen the movie, so I came into this with no preconceived notions - and I expected Rita Hayworth to be one of the characters because I was unfamiliar with the person herself. Whoops! That said, I really enjoyed this story. I think King has a great skill for foreshadowing without giving the point away - I did not expect the ending at all, much less the method(s) of escape involved. I also really loved the characters in this one, especially Red. I happened to think the length of this novella is perfect (an opinion that only becomes important when compared with the next story.)
Oh, how I hated this story, let me count the ways. This. Story. Drug. It was a good 130 pages longer than it needed to be! Although the ending surprised me, and was a good one, and although there were several twists along the way, all that shined in this story came long after I had stopped caring about the characters. This from the girl who adored King's 1000 page epic Under the Dome. This story was just incredibly tedious and overlong. That said, I did enjoy the concept, Dussander's character and the ending, I just wish it had come 100 pages sooner.
This was as good as everyone claims it is! Although I don't tend to like growing up stories and am always wary when King ventures from his well trod horror niche, I found this story to be a grand success. All four of the boys were well developed (especially Chris) and it all tied together very neatly. The ending was excellent without being shocking. This is an average story of average boys on an unusual adventure. It didn't need the regular grand ending that King provides and I'm glad he recognized that.
The Breathing Method:
Although i loved this story, it was kind of all over the place. Was it about the club or about the pregnancy? King references this in the afterword of this edition as a strong point of the story - I thought the whole thing could have easily worked as two separate, excellent stories, and maybe in the process made two short stories (which, as is mentioned in the afterword, are much easier to deal with) versus one kind of rambling novella. That said, I think, if King was set on making this one story instead of two, it should have been longer. The main story got the attention it deserved, but the frame of it, which was just as interesting, was sadly neglected.
In conclusion, is this collection worth reading? Absolutely. But, unless you know what you're in for, don't trust the other reviews and avoid Apt Pupil!
Four very good quality short stories. I never sat down to wath the Shawshank Redemption but I have to say if the movie is as good as the short story I can now understand all the hoopla about the movie.
Steven King is a wonderfully gifted writer. If you aren't interested in the gore and horror of "Carrie" or "Christine", you should give "Different Seasons" a chance. Also look for his books written as Richard Bachman. You won't be disappointed!
Different Seasons (1982) is a collection of four novellas, markedly different in tone and subject, each on the theme of a journey. The first is a rich, satisfying, nonhorrific tale about an innocent man who carefully nurtures hope and devises a wily scheme to escape from prison. The second concerns a boy who discards his innocence by enticing an old man to travel with him into a reawakening of long-buried evil. In the third story, a writer looks back on the trek he took with three friends on the brink of adolescence to find another boy\'s corpse. The trip becomes a character-rich rite of passage from youth to maturity.
Stephen King is usually thought of as someone who writes stories about monsters and gore, actually his work is so much more. "Different Seasons" is a perfect example of this. It is a book with four different stories in it "Rita Hayworth And The Shawshank Redemption", "Apt Pupil", "The Body" and "The Breathing Method" and each one has it's merits. In these the proof that King is a master story teller is evident. If you haven't read King, this would be a great place to start.
Four novellas: Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption
The Breathing Method
These stories are a good example of some of King's works that were good stories made into fabulous movies (The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me). The Breathing Method is my favorite story of the lot; a great frame story that is almost more interesting than the inner story.
This is one of the best books Stephen King wrote: Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redeption, Apt Pupil. The Body, The Breathing Method. These aren't horror stories . .they're novels that are both compelling and insightful.
Sometimes collections like this can be hard to judge. Most of the time the author will have ups and downs, with one story that may appeal to one audience and another which appeals to a different one. Different Seasons, however, manages to provide a good body of work that should appeal to just about everybody.
To be clear on the content of the book, this is actually two novellas and two short stories--both Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption and The Breathing Method are both on par with such classics as "Bartleby the Scrivener." The format of the book is perhaps a little hokey--the stories follow the seasonal theme--but ultimately that artistic touch is irrelevant to the real appreciation of the book, at worst, and endearing, at best.
The stories themselves are excellent, a fact attested to by the production of three major films based on the first three of these pieces. The first presented is Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, and of them all, it's probably the best on the whole. The characters in the story are well written and, all things considered, it's really just a fine story with a positive message that you might not be used to seeing in Stephen King's writing. Second is Apt Pupil, which is more reminiscent of King's usual subject matter and tone, but still manages to provide an engrossing and interesting view into the nature of evil and the parasitic relationship that a man can develop with it. The Body is probably the most endearing of all the stories in the book, even if it is the roughest in terms of production. With a reflective, old-man-on-the-porch-in-the-sunshine voice, King is able to relate this tale of the loss of innocence and the passage into adulthood. The final tale is actually reminiscent of other, older authors than King. The Breathing Method uses several old tricks of such superluminaries as Melville and Hawthorne in its presentation, and manages to wrap an entertaining story around an allegorical examination of the writing process.
Taken as a whole, this collection is truly one of the most excellent efforts that King has ever put forth. While he still does tend to bloat a little (a complaint many have about his novels) in the middle two stories, all of them manage to create an atmosphere wholly their own and to take the mind of a reader away to another place, which, as King says in the afterword, is his first and highest goal. While little new ground is broken in the themes King analyzes, the themes themselves all still bear examination. His storytelling is at its height here, and this is a book that all readers should pick up at one point or another. It may not be horror, but that, in this case, cannot be said to be a failing, as King showcases his cross-genre talent. A truly fantastic book.
I ordered this book because I had read it years ago and wanted a copy for my personal library. It is four short stories from Stephen King, including "The Body", which is the basis for the film "Stand By Me". This particular story contains one of the funniest scenes I've ever read, and of course, being Stephen King, the entire book is very well written.
An unjustly imprisoned convict seeks a strange and startling revenge.... a teenager becomes both the puppet and the puppet master of evil.... 4 rambunctious boys plunge through the facade of a small town and come face to face with life, death, and intimations of their own mortality.... a disgraced woman is determined to triumph over death.
These are your guides to the ultimate in fascination as SK shows the horror that lurks within all of us.
I have not read this book but here is what the back says:
An unjustly imprisoned convict seeks a strange and startling revenge...a teenager becomes both the puppet and the puppet master of evil...four rambunctious young boys plunge through the facade of a small town and come face-to-face with life, death, and intimations of their own mortality...a disgraced women is determined to triumph over death. These are your guides to the ultimate in fascination as Stephen King shows the horror that lurks within us all.