The Body by Stephen King
Four pre-teens hike out into the woods to see a dead body.
Sure, it seems basic enough for a fun, freaky premise. (And maybe you know the story better by its movie title: Stand By Me.) But in today’s world, you have to wonder, could a twelve year old kid today manage this? Could they light a fire and grill using what they found in the woods? Could they sneak out of their houses and away from their parents for a night, hiking into the woods, without anyone checking their smartphones’ location? And what would we say about their parents if they could? I’m not saying we should all kick our pre-teens out into the wild in search of cadavers! But...would they even have the ingenuity, the guts, or the sheer luck to pull it off the way these four characters did? And a bigger question: what, if anything, are we robbing this generation of by keeping them tethered so close? Without adventure, without daring, can we learn to risk more sacred things, like our truths?
“The most important things are the hardest things to say.” This is at the core of King’s The Body. And here’s my thought: without friends, without someone to share our journeys with and our truths with, we have no real way to speak them. Without adventure, can we ever learn to risk vulnerability? The Body is an adventure. There’s truth, genuine characters, danger, and bravery. There’s the normal goings-around of four pre-teens boys. There is absolutely a dead body. And there’s something deeper held within these pages, something worth considering.
What do you think? Can we be vulnerable without adventure? How do we learn bravery? And when should we start?
I'd love to hear from you.
Until next time...Happy reading!