The Body
by Stephen King
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Made into the acclaimed film Stand By Me, The Body is a mesmerizing tale of four young boys and their quest to find a dead body, never realizing how much death will affect their lives and their friendship.

Unabridged 6 hours on 4 cassettes

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Cri1967Cri1967 wrote a review
01
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Spoiler Alert
"You could almost believe he was glad to see us, boys his own age, but I understand he doesn't belong to anyone.
The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words make them smaller. When they were in your head they were limitless; but when they come out they seem to be no bigger than normal things. But that's not all. The most important things he too close to wherever your secret heart is buried; they are clues that could guide your enemies to a prize they would love to steal. It's hard and painful for you to talk about these things and then people just look at you strangely. They haven't understood what you've said at all, or why you almost cried while you were saying it. It's hard to make strangers care about the good things in life.
Love isn't soft, like those poets say. Love has teeth which bite and the wounds never close. No word can close those love-bites. In fact, if the wounds dry up, the words will stop too.

"I was twelve, nearly thirteen, when I first saw a dead person. It happened in 1960, a long time ago... although sometimes it doesn't seem very long to me. Especially on the nights when I wake up from dreams in which the hail falls into his open eyes."
King writes in "The body".

Maybe he and his friends knew, or half knew, that going to see a dead body was a big thing, as big as sleeping with a girl for the first time. And the big things in life should never be easy; they should be marked in some way as important. You don't hitchhike to a thing like that, perhaps.
Their trip into what they had always suspected it was: a serious matter.

"The memory of that hand comes back to me every time I hear or read of some tragic.
Somewhere, joined to that hand, was the rest of Ray Brower." writes King.

His wife, his children, his friends — they all think that having an imagination like his must
be quite nice

"not only do I make a lot of money from it, but I can also see films in my mind when I want to. But sometimes my imagination turns out to have long, sharp, cruel teeth. You see things you would prefer not to see, things that keep you awake all night. I saw one of those things then; I saw it clearly and with absolute certainty. He was knocked clean out of his shoes."
He goes on.

"The train had knocked him out of his shoes just as it had knocked the life out of his body.
That was what finally made me realize that the guy was dead."

He wasn't ill, he wasn't sleeping. He wasn't going to get up in the morning any more, or eat too many apples, or worry about school exams. He was dead, completely dead. He wasn't going to go out with his friends in the spring to collect bottles uncovered by the departing snow. He wasn't going to get into fights in the playground. He wasn't going to pull a single girl's hair. He was everything like wasn't, can't, don't, shouldn't, wouldn't, couldn't. He was one big not. He was dead.
He was disconnected from his shoes and there was no hope of reconnection. He was dead.
"You could almost believe he was glad to see us, boys his own age, but I understand he doesn't belong to anyone." King thinks.

The birds were singing madly, pleased with the rain and now the sun and all the worms appearing above ground.
He was lying there, alone.
They had turned him over, so it looked as if he was just lying in the sunshine.

"He was a boy our age, and he was dead."

The line between childhood and adulthood is narrower than most people like to think. And at times we all feel closer to the children we once were than to the boring, sensible adults we have become.

"And I remember those days at the end of that summer so well, and I think: that boy was me. And then the fearful thought comes: Which boy do you mean?
It will start to seem like a dream and they'll be too embarrassed to talk about it, and then . . . it sounds crazy, but I think they'll almost forget it ever happened."