The Body, by Stephen King


Gordon Lachance is an adult telling this story in the first person, looking back to 1960 when he was 12 years old, living in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine.

A boy from a nearby town is missing and Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern decide that the boy has been missing so long that he must be dead, and they suspect he was hit by a train along the rail tracks between the towns.  They tell their parents they are camping out and begin the quest to find the corpse.

The idea of finding a dead body excites them but they start out their trip not clearly understanding death. They each come from abusive or dysfunctional families with challenges and stories that are revealed and become clear as the trip proceeds.

When they see the boy's body the reality of death hits them and become clear. "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 or catch poison ivy or wear out the eraser on the end of his Ticonderoga No 2 during a hard math test. The kid was dead."

Gordie's, even as a boy is a writer and storyteller, and the trip gives him time to tell some of his stories and they are written out in the book in the form that it is suggested they apparently later appeared when published in magazines. Gordie’s first person comments on writing can connect with the reader with them recalling Stephen King’s own life story which might be considered a little confusing.

In the final chapters the future fate of the coming years for the boys is discussed. This short novella was made into the movie, Stand by Me, and the book is another example of how very effective Stephen King is in taking us back to this time period

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Quotes From This Book


“Speech destroys the function of love, I think-that's a hell of a thing for a writer to say, I guess, but I believe it to be true. If you speak to tell a deer you mean it no harm, it glides away with a single flip of its tail. Love has teeth; they bite; the wounds never close. No word, no combination of words can close those love bites. it's the other way around, that's the joke. If those wounds dry up, the words die with them.” 

“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, did you?”

 “Gordie: Do you think I'm weird?
Chris: Definitely.
Gordie: No man, seriously. Am I weird?
Chris: Yeah, but so what? Everybody's weird”