In life there are those rare books that completely capture your soul and leave an imprint on you forever. Different Seasons by Stephen King (specifically two of the four novellas) did exactly that for me. Like I stated previously, King includes four novellas that are each so unique and magnificent. This review won’t do the book or the feelings it gave me justice. 3/4 of these are horror. The only one that isn’t (you’re probably familiar with the cinema counterpart) is “Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption”.
“Shawshank Redemption”…all I can say is oh my god. This novella made me go through so many emotions…laughing yet weeping, scared yet triumphant. This novella is so well done. It’s easily my favorite story from King. It is not only a page turner, but an absolute masterpiece. These are the kinds of stories that I gravitate towards but don’t experience often. The kinds of stories that I carry with me forever and will always have a tender spot in my heart. That is why this individual novella is granted with the rare 5/5.
The second novella, “Apt Pupil”, is where Different Seasons went extremely downhill for me. All I can say is…wow. Is the story encapsulating? Yes. Is it well written? Extremely. Is it King horror that will scar you for life? TREMENDOUSLY. This story is so dark, and I actually had to quit reading for a few days because it almost made me feel physically ill while reading. The characters in this novella are by far the worst that I have ever experienced in my reading career. A young boy discovers that a Nazi lives in his town and instead of being disgusted, he is fascinated. In the worst way. However, this tale of evil is extremely well-done, and I eventually picked Different Seasons up again and trudged through. And honestly? I’m glad I did. Rating: 3.5/5
The third novella is another tugged on my heart strings and will stay with me always is “The Body.” This story made me reminiscent of King’s It because it surfaces around kids who I was rooting for the ENTIRE time. Their lives are nowhere close to the easiest and are riddled with loss, conflict, and hardship. Despite this, the kids have such great potential and are easily likable. This is a truly wonderful coming of age story that is unique in so many senses. Also, this novella stays true to King’s usual horror— there is a dead body (hence the title). Rating: 4.5/5
The final novella “The Breathing Method” is creepy, mysterious and leans towards King’s supernatural-horror genre. This particular novella confused me at first, partially because of the supernatural factors that are never truly explained, and partially because it was a tad slow. After I got past that, I found myself enjoying a decent story. I think I was mostly disappointed because the prior 3 stories were SO gripping and page-turning and this one just…wasn’t. I enjoyed it, but not with fervor. Like I said, it was a bit confusing, and overall lackluster. Therefore, I’ll award this last installment in Different Seasons a 2.5/5.