My first novel for the year 2012 is Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King. This novel is the first of four who make up a single book called Different Seasons.
I like how that sounds, Different Seasons.
It makes me melancholic.
I usually stay away from Stephen King books because his main genre is horror and suspense. While I can handle suspense on its own, the combination of horror and suspense written by Stephen King is too much for me. I remember starting reading one of his more recent books and I just gave up after the first chapters because I started feeling sick.
I thought that the movies based on his books were bad, but the books are even worse. And I don’t mean that they are bad in quality. I mean the way they make you feel if you’re not a fan of the genre.
I really can’t handle horror books or movies. I blame my wild imagination and being a coward. I flinch at the first weird noise I hear especially if I’m home alone. Should I even go into details about the invisible guy in my room that breaths heavily? Either I have a perverted ghost or I can hear the next door neighbors breathing.
I wanted to read Different Seasons, especially The Body novel.
I said it makes me feel melancholic. Well, it does. When I was little the first real movie that just made me stay glued to the screen was “Stand by me” (1986). The movie was based on The Body novel. And I also saw “The Shawshank Redemption” with my family on a summer weekend. So this feeling that I have is probably because I really do miss those days.
Things were really different back then.
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, the first novel of four, is narrated by Red an inmate from Shawshank Prison.
He starts by explaining why he’s in prison (on the charge of murdering his wife, a friend and her child) and how he manages to stay on the good side of everyone while he’s serving his sentence. Red is an expert in contraband aka he can get anything for the right price. This in prison makes one person pretty important and this is also how he meets and eventually becomes a good friend of Andy Dufresne.
Andy Dufresne is a very intelligent accountant (but very quiet, calm and composed) that ends up in jail on a false charge of murdering his wife and her lover.
Most of the story focuses on Andy and his prison experience.
Red: [narrating] I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight, and the Sisters let him be. I wish I could tell you that – but prison is no fairy-tale world. He never said who did it, but we all knew. Things went on like that for awhile – prison life consists of routine, and then more routine. Every so often, Andy would show up with fresh bruises. The Sisters kept at him – sometimes he was able to fight ‘em off, sometimes not. And that’s how it went for Andy – that was his routine. I do believe those first two years were the worst for him, and I also believe that if things had gone on that way, this place would have got the best of him.
But as Red puts it, he might’ve talked more about Andy but the story is about the impact that Andy makes on the people around him. It’s about the impact that Andy makes on Red.
It’s about not giving up, using your time, having patience and getting your sense of freedom. A good combination if you want to achieve something in life, no matter what.
You know, Stephen King is really something. After reading this novel I got the feeling that prison isn’t just a place for people that commit serious offences, but it’s more of a feeling that most of us get in our lifetime.
I got the feeling that my life is a prison. That my daily routine (work-home- repeat) is made up by others that dictate how things should be. It’s like Red said:
Prison life consists of routine, and then more routine.
Routine does kill everything! Change isn’t hard, we just make it hard because we are so used with what we got that anything else seems too dangerous and risky. Mental boundaries are harder to break than stone walls.
Am I the only that feels this way? I can’t be! There are so many people in this world and I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way. You know, I said this year will be all about change. I’m starting to think that not only the things and people around me are changing, but I’m changing as well. I’m starting to think that the first step of change is realizing.
This was a good novel, perfect for my current state of mind.