I haven't read a whole lot of King, but what I have I've loved. This set of books is supposed to be some of King's best writing and even with my limited experience, I can tell he's in top form. I've been on a King kick lately and couldn't resist reading the inspiration for one of my favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption. I don't know if I'll get to the rest any time soon, but here's a review of the first:
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption
(That's Rita Hayworth if you were wondering, the one in the movie the prisoners watch who tosses her hair.)
The movie is only titled "The Shawshank Redemption" and with the little research I did, I learned it was because they didn't want people thinking it was a movie about Rita Hayworth's life (before the movie was really underway, they received multiple solicitations from actresses to play the lead).
For me, and I'm sure plenty of other people, the movie and the novella will always be intertwined. Not only did I see the movie first (and as many times as it's been on TV), but I had no idea it was based on a Stephen King story. It's a classic in both formats.
Of course, directly after reading this, I had to watch the movie again, and it's really spot-on. There are actually very little changes made to the story (like what happens to Tommy) and absolutely nothing that changes the story in any way. I was honestly wondering if Stephen King thought the minor changes were actually improvements even.
Also, for some final movie trivia facts, King considers this movie, Stand by Me (film adaptation of The Body also contained in this book), and The Mist to be his favorite adaptations of his works.
I doubt you need a synopsis, but if you've been living under a rock and haven't actually seen the movie, this is a tale of an innocent man falsely sent to prison for killing his wife and her lover. It details his trials with people such as the "sisters," the ways prisoners cope (or don't cope) with prison life, and as the title of this section of the book suggests - hope.
I've been told that this is some of King's best writing and I have to admit it is some of the best I've ever read. So much of the movie is filled with the same narration as the book and even some of the same dialogue and there's a reason for it - there's no need to change it, it's perfect the way it is.
5 out of 5 Stars (You would not be disappointed to read this immediately)