Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Book Review: Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

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...

Journey back to Castle Rock again in this chilling new novella by Stephen King, bestselling author of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and Richard Chizmar, award-winning author of A Long December. This book will be a Cemetery Dance Publications exclusive with no other editions currently planned anywhere in the world!

My Review:
I was on the hunt for my next great read from my local library. While browsing the books, I came across Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar. The synopsis definitely caught my attention. I'm glad I found this book because I loved it! I also loved the illustrations peppered throughout the book.

The pacing for Gwendy's Button Box was spot on. It flowed at such a nice even pace. Not once did I find myself becoming too bored or wondering what had just happened.

The world building and plot are written superbly. This is a short read, and all of the chapters are short as well. However, the plot is still strong and told in a way that answered all my questions. The world building is believable, and I found myself wanting a button box but also wondering if I'd want all that responsibility. The plot is as follows. Gwendy, an overweight 12 year old is tired of being made fun of because of her size. One day while exercising, she encounters a man in a black hat. He gives her a box with button on top. It is not a normal box though. It seems to have powers. Before long, Gwendy is popular, thin, beautiful, and everything is going swimmingly for her. In time, events start to happen that make her think the box isn't all it's cracked up to be. Gwendy is left wondering what life would have been like without the box, and she comes to resent it. Will Gwendy be able to live life without the box after it's done so much for her?

Gwendy's Button Box focuses mainly on the titular character. We get to see her starting out as a 12 year old, and we read about her growing up throughout the years. I loved Gwendy, and I loved her thought process and how curious she was about the box. It was interesting seeing the change in her through the years and how she matured. I found her to be fleshed out well enough to be enjoyable to read about. The minor characters mentioned throughout the book are also well written, and each adds something to the story however minor. I enjoyed Mr. Farris. I still can't figure out his motives for giving Gwendy the button box or where he came from, but I believe that's the beauty of Gwendy's Button Box. It does leave it up for speculation on purpose.

Trigger warnings for Gwendy's Button Box include swearing (although not much), violence, attempted rape (though not graphic), mentions of nudity, and murder.

Overall, Gwendy's Button Box is a short yet interesting read. It held my attention throughout and was very enjoyable. I would definitely recommend Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar to everyone aged 16+.

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