Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5 / 5 stars)
Andy Dufresne has been accused of murdering his wife and her lover in a gruesome murder involving over eight bullets. The jury, the verdict is a no brainer: Andy shows little emotion, is blunt, and is calculating. All the details add up: he was angry with his wife for cheating, he drove to the house that night, and he conveniently got rid of the gun. But Andy holds his own: he says he is innocent, even as he is shipped off to Shawshank Prison and becomes acquainted with long-time inmate Red, he maintains his innocence. Because of this, Red isn’t sure what to think of Andy at first; his odd interests and calm demeanor seem unwavering. Will Shawshank break Andy? Or will he get out?
It might come as a surprise, but I never actually watched the movie (in full) of The Shawshank Redemption. While I was aware of the ending from popular culture, I managed to read most of the book blind. This was the first time I met Red, Andy, and Warden Norton, so I had no basis in which to compare the book. I think this is a good thing: I was able to look at the story objectively, unsure how each piece of the puzzle came together.
Of course, as with a lot of Stephen King’s writing, I wasn’t disappointed. King has this way of drawing readers into his mind, and despite the 100 pages that tell the story of the Shawshank Redemption, I had no problem understanding the characters and their personalities. I managed to read this book in one sitting, and to be frank, I was almost sad when it was over.
At least I was able to pick up the movie right after.
Having watched the movie and read the book in the same day, I was able to make a few notes. The movie is just as good as the book (if not a little bit better). Sure, the movie does make a changes to help with the narrative: Andy escapes earlier on (19 years versus 27 years), Warden Norton is there the entire time, and Andy seems just a tad more likeable, plus a few other aspects (which could be considered spoilers). Of course, this is necessary for a book-to-movie adaptation.
As always, Stephen King never fails to impress. I am sure I will revisiting the Shawshank Redemption in the future. Now I finally understand why it is a classic.
What’s it about?
A mesmerizing tale of unjust imprisonment and offbeat escape, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is one of Stephen King’s most beloved and iconic stories, and it helped make Castle Rock a place readers would return to over and over again. Suspenseful, mysterious, and heart-wrenching, this iconic King novella, populated by a cast of unforgettable characters, is about a fiercely compelling convict named Andy Dufresne who is seeking his ultimate revenge. Originally published in 1982 in the collection Different Seasons (alongside “The Body,” “Art Pupil,” and “The Breathing Method”), it was made into the film The Shawshank Redemption in 1994. Starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins, this modern classic was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and is among the most beloved films of all time.