Different Seasons - Stephen King

Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.

Different Seasons is a collection of stories by Stephen King, first published in 1982. The book consists of 4 titles: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil, The Body, and The Breathing Method. Although the author is widely known as the master of horror stories, for books like Carrie or It, not one of the stories in this book is of a horror genre, I think. There are horror elements that popped up here and there but it's not particularly the main attraction of the story.

The first story, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, is a story about Andy Dufresne, who's accused of the murder of his wife and her secret lover and was put into a prison named Shawshank State Penitentiary. The story follows Andy's resolute will to believe that he is innocent and that one day he will be free from jail.

The second one, Apt Pupil, is about the story of a boy and an old man who's formerly a Nazi high-ranking officer. The boy discovers the old man's existence one day, hiding in plain sight in his neighborhood. After threatening to report his identity to the police, the old man finally agrees to do what the boy wants, which is to tell him the stories of Nazi's prison camp. Each day, their strange meeting develops into one strange relationship between these two unlikely individuals.

The third one, The Body, is a story of four boys in the town of Castle Rock, Maine. One day, one of the boys heard the news of a missing boy named Ray Brower and where his body was located. Then, the four of them decided to set on a quest to find the body. They walked the painfully long journey along railroad tracks while slowly discovering their true selves along the way.

The fourth one, The Breathing Method, is the closest to a horror story among these four stories. The story was told quite differently, but the main story was about a pregnant woman named Sandra Stansfield. She lives alone with her unborn child and was being cared for by a physician who taught her breathing method that could help when the baby is due. She was determined to give birth to her child and when finally she goes into labor something truly terrifying and extraordinary happened.

I love these stories more than I can explain. They're timeless, is probably the best way to sum up my sentiment of these stories. They speak the universal language of human natures that anyone can relate to across many generations. Stories about hope, determination, friendship, love, ambition, truth, and lies. If I have to pick one, my favorite would be The Body because of how splendidly written it is. I love how bittersweet the story felt in the end. Unlike most of coming-of-age fictions, this one just felt real and honest. It's melancholic and hopeful at the same time, which makes it all the more special in my eyes.

Different Seasons
Stephen King
First Published
August 27, 1982