The Body

By Stephen King,

Book cover of The Body

Book description

Set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King’s timeless novella “The Body”—originally published in his 1982 short story collection Different Seasons, and adapted into the 1986 film classic Stand by Me—is now available as a stand-alone publication.

It’s 1960 in the…

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Why read it?

5 authors picked The Body as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I first saw the movie that this book was adapted into, Stand By Me, and the book works every bit as well.

When I was a kid, I had a deal with my parents that I could watch R-rated movies if I read the book first, but for some reason, this was one of the rare exceptions that was turned the other way around.

It’s just such a compelling read, and I wanted to start it over again as soon as I finished it.

In my opinion, Stephen King is even better at crafting coming-of-age tales than he is at horror, and The Body might be his best.

I love how this book portrays the adventures of childhood—being chased by dogs, walking the train tracks, puffing cigarettes around a fire as the night sets in—as being totally unique and new, exciting experiences. This story, in my view, is the perfect template for any good childhood adventure story. 

The Body is Gordie’s odyssey into imagination. As we would be inclined to do, he wants to see the dead boy out of morbid curiosity. He also wants to be the hero who found the body. The odyssey tests and reveals Gordie’s character and that of his three friends. As with the boys, we bear some lonely disappointments and pains. We’d be going to see the dead body merely so we could think to ourselves, at least that’s not me. Perhaps that’s what motivates them too. Who doesn’t do that? Yet their quest doesn’t lead only to an unknown dead…

Often when I read a book, I don’t see up front what other people see. There’s plenty of intrigue in The Body. There’s also plenty by way of an examination into the boys’ coming of age. But what I really saw was a bunch of kids hanging in a small town like how I remember my childhood. The Body is no different from many of Stephen King’s works, a clear, lucid window into the strangest of things. But it has a warmth and texture for something lost in time that comes from, I think, how the writer remembered parts…

From Joe's list on buddies in a bind.

I watched the faithful movie adaptation, Stand by Me, before I read this novella. The movie was amazing, and I didn’t see how the short novel could compete. However, this is one of those cases where the book is better than the movie…and an even rarer case where the book is better than a really good movie, as Stand by Me is an excellent film. If you’ve seen the flick and enjoyed it, definitely check out the novella. I think the four kids that King writes about are some of his best-developed characters, and that’s saying a lot as…

From Jeremy's list on coming-of-age horror.

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