Customer Review

21 September 2014
This is the first of three books Stephen King has released that contain four novella-length stories. The other two collections are Four Past Midnight and Full Dark, No Stars. Each of the stories is matched loosely to a season of the year.

"Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" is the story of Andy Dufresne, sent to prison for murdering his wife and her lover. Andy quickly stops protesting his innocence after learning that "we're all innocent in here." Andy finds ways to make his sentence more bearable and help some of his fellow inmates. This story was made into the film The Shawshank Redemption.

In "Apt Pupil" we learn that the unassuming and reclusive Arthur Denker is really a Nazi war criminal. A neighborhood boy named Todd knows this and blackmails Denker into teaching him how to torture and kill. The authorities bumble around trying to catch both of them. This story was made into the film Apt Pupil.

"The Body" is about four boys who go on an overnight trek to confirm the rumor of a dead body near some train tracks. As they walk, we learn about each of the boys, their town, and the jokes, stories and games of early 1960's childhood. The story was the basis for the film Stand By Me.

"The Breathing Method" is the only story in this collection that has not--as yet--been made into a film. An aging doctor entertains the other guests at an exclusive club with a story about the breathing method he invented that eased the pains of childbirth. His story focuses on a young mother who used the method under difficult circumstances.

All four of these stories are excellent and well worth reading, even by those who have seen one of the associated films. This is Stephen King at the top of his game.
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3.5 out of 5 stars