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on May 16, 2014
The Shawshank redemption is a book that left me with chills, and a deep sense of hope for all of the characters involved. Unfortunately I watched the movie long before I read the book, so I do have some mixed feelings about a lot of the things that happened. So let me just say that both are very enjoyable and worth your time and money.

This novella is about Andy Dufresne, and how he is sent to Shawshank prison when he is still a young man, he is convicted of killing his wife and her lover. Throughout the novel we meet other convicts some of which may be innocent others not so much. All of this is told from the perspective of Red, Andy's best friend in Shawshank. Let it be said now that Andy's doings and what Red knows are two different things. So don't be surprised by all the twists and turns that Andy makes while in prison.

I felt that a lot of things could have been done better in this novella, a lot of characters could have been given more depth or more meaning. Just a little bit more from this novella, in general.

I loved that everything Andy does is pieced together by Red, and that none it might be true. It could all just be the fancy of some institutionalized con. All that we really know is that Andy exists and may or may not have done some heroically stupid things during his time in prison.
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on February 28, 2015
This is what a book should be! Have read it twice and saw the movie twice. To me it was not the usual STEPHEN KING book, which I really enjoyed, knowing what a Great AUTHOR he is with his vivid imagination.
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VINE VOICEon September 25, 2012
Although packaged as a stand-alone novella, this work is really a short story -- I easily finished it in one sitting, which is the traditional definition of a short story. But it is as fine a story as I've ever read by any author, and is deserving of this stand-alone treatment. As usual, Frank Muller's reading of this audiobook is perfect.

I've only read two other King works, both of which were quite good. This work, however, is a piece of fine literature. If I were teaching high school or freshman English, I'd assign it as an example of a perfectly crafted story which I knew the students would read and like. And then I'd assign the movie, which is also beautifully done, to demonstrate the differences between the two media.

The ostensible protagonist and subject of the story is Andy Dufresne, the strong and sensitive banker who is wrongly convicted of killing his wife, and who never gives up hope. But the real protagonist is Red -- the narrator who must process Andy's tale, sift fact from legend, and come to terms with what it means for him in his life. Of course, we are all in the same position as Red, which is why the book is so subtle and effective.

The best lines and scenes from the movie are all in the book. Perhaps the best is Andy's observation that one had better get busy living or get busy dying. That, in a nutshell, states our own lot in life once we hit middle age. The prison setting is great as metaphor -- we all must live in some metaphorical prison and make the best of it. The book is as captivating as the movie and is better than the movie given King's well-honed writing skills. I've not read King's more famous horror books -- but from what I've read he has real literary merit. Perhaps he should have focused his career on the non-horror genre. This is a short story that I would be happy to include in an anthology of leading 20th Century American short stories.
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on August 3, 2014
Andy Dufresne is suspected of the murder of his wife and her lover. He swears his innocence, but is convicted and sentenced to life in the Shawshank State Penitentiary in Maine. Andy quickly realizes that he will have to be strong and cunning to survive in prison where everyone is out to protect themselves. Andy has to contend with normal prison issues, like enduring brutal beatings from fellow inmates when he won't agree to sex. He quickly realizes that he must have something to offer to make his life better on the inside. As luck would have it, he's afforded the opportunity to provide financial guidance to one of the guards. When that pans out, he soon becomes the go-to guy for taxes and other financial advice from the guards who offer him protection in return. Andy soon becomes friends with Red, a fellow prisoner who can get anyone anything as long as he's properly compensated. Andy asks for a Rita Hayworth poster to hang in his cell and a rock hammer so he can carve various rocks he finds in the prison yard. One day Andy hears of another prisoner who has confessed of the killings Andy was convicted of. This puts a fire into Andy to try and get his case re-opened. With little luck on that front (and the Warden actively working against him), Andy devises a daring plan for escape.

What a great read! I'm really surprised I enjoyed this so much as I rarely enjoy prison stories. I really felt for Andy and appreciated his continued hope even in a place of utter despair. He was cunning and able to think through issues logically to help better his life in prison and devise a plan of escape. What a daring plan and an amazing stroke of luck as well. King definitely has the reader routing for both Andy and Red and their freedom on the outside. I must say I know that I enjoyed this even more after having seen the movie. I was picturing Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins the whole time and it made me enjoy the characters even more. It's rare when a movie lives up to a book, but it does in this case.
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on January 16, 2011
I've got to say, I deeply enjoyed this short, wonderful story. I read it out of Different Seasons (Signet)

I normally don't like stories told from the first-person perspective, but this one got on top of me and quickly. It's in the voicing of the narrative, almost wholly, in how it works on you; sure, there are a lot of other great things going on in this story, like the character development and a lot of contextual stuff, but it's the voice that carries this great work of art. You really fall in love with these guys; they're just so likable, and their situation is so dire; they've been crushed down, so low, and this character is telling you how they got out of it all.

I'm also a sucker for fiction in which the villain or villains is the system itself, or members of the authority body. This novella definitely hits that on the nose, squarely.

I plan on watching the The Shawshank Redemption (Blu-ray Book) sometime in the next couple weeks, and will write a review based on the movie experience, too; when I do that, I'll include a comparison to the book in that review and update this review, also.

I just want to say it again... This is an amazing story, and I would recommend it to everyone; even people that aren't particularly into reading...
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on January 24, 2013
I must say I have never seen the movie. Most people are shocked because it was so good, but for some reason I never cared to watch it. Currently I am on a huge Stephen King kick and I wanted something quick to fill the gap till my next audio book came available at the library.

So since I had heard such great things about the movie I decided to give this a try. I was a little disappointed at first because of how slow it seemed to move. And with this being a Novella I feel that there should be a quick pace from the beginning. I began to worry if it would be wrapped up carelessly and quickly because King had gone on to long and had to finish it.

I was wrong, halfway through the story it began to get more interesting and I enjoyed each new development with anticipation. It was well written and I am glad I listened to it. On a technical note I really enjoyed the reader of this audio. His voice seemed to be perfect for this type of story and helped me understand the narrator even more.
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on June 11, 2014
I loved this story both as book and the film adaptation. It was interesting to see the differences and the length of the story lent itself well to the movie. There were slight differences such as "Red" being Irish and the ending had a different twist in the movie, however I never tire of this story. I only wish it were longer. Great job, Stephen.
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on October 22, 2014
Almost everyone knows The Shawshank Redemption from the movie starring Morgan Freeman, but I suspect few know that Stephen King is the author of the book it is based on. Interestingly, it isn’t an entire novel, but rather a novella, much shorter in length. This doesn’t detract from the character development nor from the plot, both masterfully crafted in true Stephen King fashion. But it makes for quick reading. I loved the suspense, and sort of knowing from the start what was going to happen yet sitting on the edge of my seat to find out how it was going to play out. The characters are wonderful, from Andy Dufresne, who is unjustly imprisoned for life, to Red, they guy who runs the prison black market, to all the guards and prison wardens who are more or less corrupt. The story gives you a new appreciation of what guilt and honor and freedom mean, and that they have nothing to do with what circumstance of life you find yourself in.
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on October 6, 2015
I really liked the book. I had to read something for a class project and my mom gave it to me off her book shelf. I thought it was really good, especially the end. It kept me interested the whole time I was reading it. I wanted to watch the movie after it, so we got it off on demand. The movie was mostly the same, except for a couple of small things.
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on May 20, 2015
Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King is a great book, it has a way to keep the reader going. As an in-frequent reader, I have to say I spent half the time reading this book in a half-asleep daze, but manages to read a maximum of seven words per page. The movie was able to keep my attention for an exponential amount more than the paperback.
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