The story takes place during the summer of 1960 in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. A kid named Ray Brower had gone out to pick berries and never returned. Gordie LaChance and his three friends, Chris Chambers, Teddy Duchamp, and Vern Tessio set out to find his body after telling their parents they will be camping out.
In comparison to King's prior works, the narrative of The Body is complicated in that it is told in first person point of view by the now thirty-something novelist Gordon LaChance. Most of the story is a straight retrospective of what happened, but comments, or entire chapters that relate to the present time, are interspaced throughout.
Although he is only 12 at the time of the story, Gordon's favorite diversion is writing and storytelling. Three times during the narrative, he tells stories to his friends, and two stories are presented in the text as short stories by Gordon LaChance, complete with attribution to the magazines in which they were published.