MY REVIEW 5 stars:
The Breathing Method is the shortest story in the Different Seasons set by Stephen King. And by short I mean significantly shorter. I listened to the whole set on audio, usually on a fairly quick speed. This is the final story and I sneaky listened to the whole thing while I pretended to watch a movie with my kids. It’s odd, creepy, unsettling, and weird – classic King for sure.
It starts off with a lawyer and a quick rundown of his life’s story. Highlighting the happiness of his home life, along with his carrier and his lovely wife. As an old man, he manages to cross paths with an odd ol’ doctor in a very strange building. It switches stories, and the change was really confusing to me. The doctor tells his own story, so most of the book is a narration of the main character listening to this other guy’s story. It was kind of pointless to even have the first MC – like maybe the whole story should have just been the doctor’s story in the first place. I think the reasoning behind this switch was the building they’re in and the oddness of the whole situation.
The man who tells him his story was a General Practitioner in a time where women had certain expectations to men. They were expected to be married and serve their duty to their husbands. Having independence and children out of wedlock was highly frowned upon. He even refers to a pregnant woman’s body as an engine – kind of off putting. It’s strange to recognize that this gender stigmata was a reality as so much as changed in society – and thankfully so! Nonetheless, The Breathing Method highlights this way of life and time.
A young woman came into the doctor’s office, pregnant and brave. She was a reserved and respectable young woman who was determined to do right by her child – despite being wronged by the baby’s father and frowned upon by the community. The Doctor took a liking to her, he respected her and committed himself to help her through the journey. The girl had a sense that she was doomed for a terrible fate. She knew in her heart that the pregnancy would be the death of her, but not necessarily by means of childbirth. As badly as I want to talk about the ending, because wow – it really is intense and gory and nasty and shocking and really just has all the BANG that makes King a literary King…. I won’t give it away.
I could pick away at the sexism and the odd views of women all day. I could frown down at all the things that I don’t like about this tiny book cause there is plenty to bitch about, but I wont – because the ending really is good enough to render all those things mute. This nibble of a story dropped my jaw and for that I’m giving it five stars.
Stephen King’s short story “The Breathing Method”—from the collection Different Seasons—is now an Encore stand-alone CD.
“The Breathing Method” takes place in an exclusive gentlemen’s club in New York, where no one pays any dues. Membership is based upon a telling of tales, and one nightmarish tale about a disgraced woman determined to give birth—no matter the consequences.