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Further Phoenix
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Stand By Me

Chris Chambers

Stephen King

The Body

Eyeball Chambers

Rob Reiner

Gordie Lachance

Teddy Duchamp

Vern Tessio

Ace Merrill

Castle Rock

Ray Brower

Different Seasons

Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption

Apt Pupil

The Breathing Method
Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix
American EnglishEn Français

The Body: Fall From Innocence

by Stephen King.
First published in 1995.

ISBN 0-14081-518-X (Paperback)

The short novel, The Body written by Stephen King would become the basis for River's second movie Stand By Me.

Director Rob Reiner made an accurate and truthful representation of the novella when he transferred the story to the big screen in the mid 1980's. What differences do exist are mostly minor with some of these changes appearing to work better in the book whilst others work better in the movie. For example, it is Chris Chambers who points his gun firmly and squarely at Ace Merrill once both gangs arrive at the Back Harlow Road, yet it falls to Gordie Lachance to drag the train-dodging Teddy fighting and screaming from the path of the oncoming freight train.

The book also carries on the story a little further once the boys arrive back home at Castle Rock. The reader is witness to the individual acts of brutal revenge handed out to the young boys by Ace, Eyeball and the rest of the older gang. It is perhaps somewhat of a relief that Reiner saw fit to draw a veil over these events in his movie. He would also choose to bestow better futures upon Vern and Teddy than what befalls the two characters at the close of this book.

I squatted and made a fist around the rail on my left. It thrummed in my hand. It was thrumming so hard that it was like gripping a bundle of deadly metallic snakes.

You've heard it said 'His bowels turned to water'? I know what that phrase means - exactly what it means. It may be the most accurate cliché ever coined. I've been scared since, badly scared, but I've never been as scared as I was in that moment, holding that hot live rail. It seemed that for a moment all my works below throat level just went limp and lay there in an internal faint. A thin stream of urine ran listlessly down the inside of one thigh. My mouth opened. I didn't open it, it opened by itself. All my muscles were locked. That was the worst. My works were limp but my muscles were in a kind of dreadful lockbolt and I couldn't move at all. It was only for a moment, but in the subjective timestream, it seemed forever.

Anyone who enjoyed Stand By Me will likewise find pleasure reading this small paperback. To those people we say this - remember what it felt like to watch that movie for the very first time. Imagine receiving the gift of being able to relive that experience just one more time. For all those who, like us, in a more selfish moment, felt cheated by River's death, who felt that there would be no more heart-breaking movies, take heart. There is more, a little more anyway. That wondrous gift of re-discovering Stand By Me is waiting for you within the covers of this book.

We went another mile and then decided to camp for the night. There was still some daylight left, but nobody really wanted to use it. We were pooped from the scene at the dump and from our scare on the train trestle, but it was more than that. We were in Harlow now, in the woods. Somewhere up ahead was a dead kid, probably mangled and covered with flies. Maggots, too, by this time. Nobody wanted to get too close to him with the night coming on. I had read somewhere that a guy's ghost hangs out around his dead body until that body is given a decent burial, and there was no way I wanted to wake up in the night and confront the glowing, disembodied ghost of Ray Brower, moaning and gibbering and floating among the dark and rustling pines. By stopping here we figured there had to be at least ten miles between us and him, and of course all four of us knew there were no such things as ghosts, but ten miles seemed just about far enough in case what everybody knew was wrong.

Unfortunately, published for UK schools, this particular paperback is extremely difficult to obtain even though it was only published in 1995. Anyone wishing to read The Body would be well advised to seek the more widely published 1982 book, Different Seasons, which is a compilation featuring four of Stephen King's novellas written at different points of his career. Besides The Body, this book features Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, a moving story of a man's experiences in prison after he has been falsely accused of the murder of his wife and her lover. In Apt Pupil, a young boy discovers his neighbor is a Nazi war criminal. Finally, The Breathing Method is a horror story set at the beginning of the twentieth century and documents a woman's struggle to be allowed to carry her illegitimate child to term.

ISBN 0-67027-266-3 (Hardback)

ISBN 0-45116-753-8 (Paperback)

ISBN 0-7515-1462-4 (Paperback)

The train had knocked him out of his Keds just as it had knocked the life out of his body. That finally rammed it all the way home for me. The kid was dead. The kid wasn't sick, the kid wasn't sleeping. The kid wasn't going to get up in the morning anymore or get the runs from eating too many apples. The kid was dead; stone dead. The kid was never going to go out bottling with his friends in the spring, gunnysack over his shoulder to pick up the returnables the retreating snow uncovered. The kid wasn't going to wake up at two o'clock a.m. on the morning of November 1 this year, run to the bathroom, and vomit up a big glurt of cheap Halloween candy. The kid was dead.

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