The Body by Stephen King Response

Reading the novella "The Body" by Stephen King was like reading a paraphrase of the movie, "Stand by Me". They're both the same sort of thing but both adaptations of whatever Stephen King was thinking about at the time. I really enjoyed reading The Body because it told a bit more of the movie's story in a deeper and subtler way. Apart from the movie though, it was a solid story.

The first thing that struck me about The Body was how real it is. Stephen King seriously didn't beat around the bush with this story, he lived it. He wasn't going on some pansy dansy quest to entertain people and make money, he was writing this for his own personal reflection.

The Body is a coming of age story told from Gordie Lachanche's perspective of a journey of four friends to see a dead body. It's not a planned or corny journey in any sense, Vern, the dumber of the four kids asks in fear if the group of friends wants to go see a dead body, an instant conversation stopper for pretty much any preteen small-towner. This was, no jokes an experience of a lifetime. The four go off and dilly-daddle their way to the Back Harlow Road, and about half way through they begin to realize what this journey is actually meaning. It's an immersement in a context outside their small-town Castle Rock and a time when they're all going through the same things and thoughts. That part of the journey is the strongest but least talked about, except for Gordie and Chris' heartfelt talks about their situations at home and what's to happen next year in junior high.

Chris Chambers in The Body and Stand by Me is the most Christ-like character. He's the most mature and hardened of the four friends because his drunken dad has screwed him up but also taught him a lot. Chris is always the thinker, initiating the community into consciousness and willing to go the extra mile. Even beyond the confines of the story, Chris' death reinforces his likening to Christ. He dies in a bar fight that he tries to break up. Chris is by far the most interesting character in the book and movie.

Overall, I enjoyed The Body, more as a supplement to Stand by Me than a stand-alone book. I'd suggest reading the novella and watching the movie, whatever stage or age you're in in your life. It has something to offer to anybody because it is a universal tale that everyone experiences elements of.


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