TITLE: Gwendy’s Button Box
AUTHOR: Stephen King and Richard Chizmar
Overall: ★★★★ (4)
Stephen King teams up with long-time friend and award-winning author Richard Chizmar for the first time in this original, chilling novella that revisits the mysterious town of Castle Rock.
There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974, twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong—if time-rusted—iron bolts and zig-zag up the precarious cliffside.
Then one day when Gwendy gets to the top of Castle View, after catching her breath and hearing the shouts of kids on the playground below, a stranger calls to her. There on a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small, neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat…
The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told—until now.
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THE CRITICAL POINTS
WRITING: I’ve never read anything by Richard Chizmar, but I’ve always loved Stephen King. This book, although it doesn’t have the creepy factor of a typical Stephen King book it does still have the mystical… magical elements that are all to familiar with reading Stephen King. One of the things I love most about reading Stephen King’s writing is that he doesn’t treat his readers like they’re stupid. He assumes you’re just going to be able to suspend your disbelief and fall into this world he has created as if it is the most natural thing in the world. The funny thing is, you do. I crack the spine and instantly I’m transported to a whole new world where everything-anything is possible.
STORY: The story was simple. It asks the question, if you had a magic button box that could destroy lives and essentially grant your every desire, what would you do? OK, that is dumbing it down a bit, but you get the point. Simple story, but then you ask that question of a twelve year old girl and lay on her the responsibility of protecting the box and essentially the world and it becomes much more complex.
CHARACTERS: The story follows Gwendy, from the time she is twelve until after her college graduation. Although it’s a fast read, I still feel like the reader really gets to know Gwendy. We understand her decisions and we can even anticipate what she is going to do next. I love that in such a short novella, Stephen King and Richard Chizmar are still able to satisfy my craving for detail and in depth character development.
APPEARANCE: Beautiful cover. It doesn’t give anything away and yet, when you read the book the cover fits perfectly.