Saturday, May 27, 2017

Book Reviews: Gwendy's Button Box

Gwendy's Button Box
by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar
When some people see the King name they immediately think that there will be heavy horror with all sorts of grossouts interspersed throughout the doorstopper text. Well that is not this book. And that's not necessarily King either though that's a different discussion. This is a short novella that can quickly be read while you're waiting for someone at the hospital or doing anything else that requires you to burn some time. I couldn't tell which author wrote which parts. The story felt seamless. You can complete this book in less than two hours. I didn't think it was among King's best work, but it is a good story. I enjoyed it. It left questions unanswered. But "Gwendy's Button Box" should feel very familiar to the reader, particularly if they have read Jerome Bixby's "It's a Good Life" or seen the classic Twilight Zone adaptation of same.

In 1974 twelve year-old Castle Rock Resident Gwendy Peterson, a tall athletic girl inclined to fleshiness (the local bully calls her Goodyear, after the Blimp), meets a strange man dressed in all black, except for his white shirt. He knows her name and knows things about her family. This man's name is Richard Farris, a name that serious King fans should recognize. He gives Gwendy a box with several colored buttons and levers on it. This box dispenses special chocolates and old coins. The chocolates satisfy all of Gwendy's hunger. The man informs Gwendy that some of the buttons are associated with various continents while other buttons have different purposes. He's giving this box to Gwendy because he has a special feeling about her. When Gwendy asks what the other buttons do the man smiles unpleasantly and advises her to not ask questions to which she already knows the answer.

Over the next decade Gwendy will undergo some changes, mostly for the better. She becomes beautiful and popular. And both Gwendy and the reader will ask themselves what would they do if their creative and destructive powers were greatly enhanced. As Peter Parker learned, with great power comes great responsibility. I thought that this book was also an extended metaphor on writing. The story was mostly non-violent with one or two exceptions.
blog comments powered by Disqus