This is my absolute favourite Stephen King book of all time. Despite popular belief, King doesn't only write horror - he writes beautiful, meaningful stories like this too. The style of writing and the insight into young boys' minds is wonderful. I laughed, I cried, I loved it. Bear in mind, though, that this is adapted from the original "The Body" (from "Different Seasons"). This is the same story, simplified for schoolchildren.
Gordie Lanchanche is the narrator of this story, and he tells us about what's happened when he was 12, nearly thirteen years, in 1960, growing up in (the fictional) Maine town of Castle Rock.
Four boys go to look for a supposed dead body by the railway tracks. Gordie, Teddy, Vern and Chris hang out together, and each have their own problems. This will be an adventure they won't forget. Even though they go and will eventually find the dead body, it is not a horror story but about 'growing up'.
It is one of the books which I truly struggle to review. At a basic level, it's a story about four boys going on an adventure, but that doesn't even start to describe the depth of this story. Friendship, bereavement, bullying, mental health, feeling lost in the world, finding oneself, being born in the family of 'no gooders' and trying to better yourself. Beautifully written, it stayed with me for a long time. The ending is very poignant, and for me, has one of the best lines every written in book history:
“ I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anybody?”
(this quote is from the movie and slightly paraphrased from the book)
Many will be more familiar with the movie adaptation 'Stand by Me' - see above picture - and for me, this is the only movie adaption where I can say that the adaptation is almost better than the actual book.
I love Steven King's books they leave you on edge and you can get into the book straight away. This book tells of four young boys who go on an "adventure" to find the body of another young boy. Very excting it is better than the film, as the book gets straight to the point were as the film drags some of the "adventure" out.
"The Body" is a novella (shorter than a novel and longer than a short story), and was originally published as one of four novellas in the collection "Different Seasons" (1982). The book "Different Seasons" contains one story for each season, and "The Body" is subtitled "Fall from Innocence".
In "The Body" we are in the company of four 12-year-old boys who are very good friends. The leader of the group is Chris, a tough but smart guy from a down-and-out family with a drunken father. Chris is trying to break out of the destiny his background is forcing him into, and he's the real hero of the story.
Gordie is more the intellectual and sensitive type and is second in command in the group. Gordie tells the story in the first person and sounds very much like Stephen King's alter ego. (The adult Gordie, in writing the story, tells briefly how he has become a successful writer of horror books.)
The last two members of the group are Teddy, the wild one, and Vern, the cautious one. Neither Vern nor Teddy are leaders but they are each very unique and real boys, and almost as important to the story as Chris and Gordie.
Chris, Gordie, Teddy and Vern set out on an adventure, a "pilgrimage" to see the dead body of a boy from another town. Their trek stretches out over two days, much longer than they expected, and involves several unexpected encounters and dangerous situations.
What makes "The Body" such a wonderful story is the way we can relate to these four boys and their lives and the way they interact with each other. Stephen King does a fantastic job of writing about people in a way that makes them seem completely real and authentic. We think back to our own childhood and the struggles and the friendships and the pain of growing up. We nod in agreement to many of the things Stephen King tells us about what he has discovered as being the important things in life.
It is this honesty and insight into human nature that makes "The Body" such a good story.
The audio version of "The Body" lasts almost six hours and is read by Frank Muller, who does a great job. If you're not into audio books then it might be a better idea to buy "Different Seasons" as a printed book instead of "The Body", and get an additional three Stephen King novellas.
The movie "Stand By Me" (1986) is based on "The Body" and was directed by Rob Reiner. The movie follows the novella quite closely, although many minor things are changed / omitted / added as is always the case when a book is turned into a movie. The most important difference is that Gordie becomes the main character instead of Chris.
Included in the DVD version of "Stand By Me" is a 37-minute "featurette" with interviews with Stephen King, Rob Reiner and several of the actors (now all adult). Stephen King mentions that he thinks it's interesting that Rob Reiner made Gordie the main character, and that he had no objection to this change in emphasis between Gordie and Chris. Stephen King also confirms that much of "The Body" is autobiographical, in that he used several experiences from his own childhood in the story.
Highly recommended, both "The Body" and "Stand By Me".
We read the novel in our English class for a couple of weeks. The book is about four friends who start an adventure trip in their summer holidays, they want to find a body in the forest. All of them are losers and come from bad families. It's easy to identify with the characters, because they are described authentically.
Even if the story actually isnt that interesting as not really much happens, its nevertheless quite enjoyable to read. The main focus clearly lies on the discription of the friendship of the four boys which underlies constant changes, which makes the book captivating. Negative about the book is the ending, as in the end almost everyone died.
We can recommend reading this book for school classes, because its more interesting than the usual school stuff.
Simply masterful, tremendous. What more can be said of Stephen King. All I know is that everytime I read one of his books, which I guarantee are many, It becomes difficult to put it down. I first saw the movie based on the book retitled 'STAND BY ME' and I was fascinated but when I read the book, I was simply hooked. The way the King leads the transition of childhood to adulthood, made me reflect on the true values of life, like friendship, companionship, trust. All youngsters out there should read this book, maybe they'll find out that what sometimes seems so deadly important is just simply futile.