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Thursday, December 28, 2017

#allthebookreviews: Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar @cemeterydance @richardchizmar @stephenking

Gwendy's Button Box
by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar
Cemetary Dance Publications


You all saw my review for this last week - this was also an #allthebookreviews pick for December - see what Jessica had to say as well! 

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.

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 cliffside.

At the top of the stairs, Gwendy catches her breath and listens to the shouts of the kids on the playground. From a bit farther away comes the chink of an aluminum bat hitting a baseball as the Senior League kids practice for the Labor Day charity game.

One day, a stranger calls to Gwendy: "Hey, girl. Come on over here for a bit. We ought to palaver, you and me."

On a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat like for a suit, 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...

Jessica's Review:

Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar is a short story that brings us back to Castle Rock. There have been many instances where I've enjoyed some of his short stories more than some of his novels; I think there's something enjoyable about a quick, and many times terrifying, journey. This was no exception. I would definitely read more about Gwendy!

We follow Gwendy, a young girl about to enter into middle school who is just trying to find herself. One morning on her daily run up the Suicide Stairs, she encounters a man. Mr. Richard Farris calls her over to him, and gives to her a peculiar box. This box has 8 colored buttons on top and two leavers, one on each side. She is told that this box is now her responsibility. He explains to her what each colored button is and what both leavers do, then disappears. With great power, comes great responsibility, and equally great consequences. 

The box begins to take over all of her thoughts. She is constantly worried that someone will find it and push the buttons without knowing their consequences. This is a great story about how temptations pull at the mind, the will power to overcome it, and then constant wondering about whether or not Mr. Farris will return to reclaim the button box. 

I really enjoyed this short story. Gwendy was so relatable and likable. You connected with her right away and that connection stayed throughout. I did wonder after finishing, what would I have done with that button box?

I give this 5/5 stars!

My Review:

It takes a lot for a novella or short story to really WOW me.  I realize how difficult it is to put everything you want into a short story - or rather, as a reader, to get everything I want from one.  This isn't to say it can't be done because it most definitely can.. I just usually want MORE - and that's not necessary a bad thing!  Sometimes collaborations don't work well, but in this case I think that it did.

What I loved about this book is Gwendy.  King and Chizmar did well in her character development.  From the age of twelve, when she is first approached, to her as an adult and trying to stay away from the power that has been bestowed upon her.  

Imagine having a box where tiny chocolates seem to empower you with the ability to do no wrong and you have the power to destroy whatever you want at the push of... well, a button!  How strong would you be to not abuse this power?  

I enjoyed this book and read it in an hour.  A feat even for my fast reading eyes as I was completely engaged.  However, I felt like something was just ... missing...  I don't know if I just needed more or what.  Also, I felt the ending to be a little flat.  That was it? I feel like maybe I missed something here (and I did go back and read the ending again just in case but felt the same), which is the only reason I drop this to a four star rating.


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