I’ve always wanted to read some of Stephen King’s books, but have never been able to bring myself to pick one up. I love horror, but in small doses only. King’s reputation as the master of horror has honestly scared me away from taking a bite out of any of his novels, and the few movie adaptations I’ve watched were creepy enough to give me nightmares. When I discovered an audio book of King’s Shawshank Redemption in the library, I figured I’d give it a shot. In the daylight of course…
A man convicted of murder lives in a prison brutally ruled by a sadistic warden and secretly run by a con who knows all the ropes and pulls all the strings.
Not at all what I expected.
This piece by King is actually a novella, only about 100 pages in length. The full name is Hope Springs Eternal: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption from Different Seasons. A bit of a mouthful, so I can understand why they shortened the name for the movie. As the full title suggests, this story has nothing to do with horror. It’s actually a wonderful tale of hope and friendship amidst the brutal reality of prison life for men serving life sentences at Shawshank.
This novella is not for the faint of heart, no bars held as King paints a violent picture of prison life including vivid descriptions of murder and rape. Despite these horrible scenes, King manages to tell the story of an innocent man who is able to rise above it all, acting as a beacon of hope for those around him. Even though the story’s narrator is a convicted murderer, his voice is compassionate and honest, leading the reader to care for him as an individual while he tells the story of his innocent friend.
This was definitely a 5 out of 5! Not a book for the faint of heart, but it’s a great read if you don’t mind a story with a little grit. I can see why King is considered one of America’s greatest authors and hope to dig into a few more of his books 🙂