I liked this novella, it reminded me of my own childhood, without internet and with not so tight supervision of the children. Now it is shocking, but then it was commonplace, something for kids to casually talk about without doing much about it - because kids rarely had any say in these matters - domestic violence, abuse of authority and bullying. I truly felt sorry for Chris, he really tried hard to beat the system that was totally prejudiced against him. The movie was not so harsh as the novella was.
I really liked how novella made us to see those boys how they all grew up in those three days off the home turf. They have all seen of what material they were made of. I liked the movie more though. The boys were really fun to watch, especially good was the performance of River Phoenix, but I liked it more mainly because it smoothed the edges. There were no beatings (at least not on screen, suggestions were mild), relationship between Gordie and Dennys was better, and their paths later in life weren't so depressing. There was also one digression in novella that in my opinion really didn't suit the story - Stud City, Gordie's first story in the novella. The second, about Lard Ass Hogan, was great, and somewhat fitting their mentality - that's why it is amusing to watch in the movie too.