Monday, July 24, 2017

Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar

    • Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar
    • Published May 16, 2017
    • First collaboration between the authors.
      • Stephen King is known for a bunch of novels including Carrie and The Stand while Richard Chizmar is the founder of Cemetery Dance Publications which focuses on horror and suspense.

    • A man named Richard Farris meets with a plump 12-year-old girl named Gwendy Peterson in Castle Rock, Maine in 1974.
    • He gives her a box with buttons and levers. One lever distributes a single piece of candy per day which will give her energy and make her less hungry; the other occasionally sends out a perfect rare coin. The 6 buttons each represent a continent but Farris won't tell Gwendy what happens if she chooses to press one.
    • Time goes on and Gwendy grows up thin, athletically gifted, beautiful and smart. She has saved a bunch of the rare coins to pay for college. (Hmm, another example of thin as better than plump trope. FYI, some people can still be athletic, smart and beautiful while plump.)
    • But her childhood tormentor/bully is still after her.

    • This book is a novella, not a novel, so it is short, less than 200 pages long.
    • I have read most of King's work and I was looking forward to another adventure in good old Castle Rock but I'm sorry to say that I didn't like this much.
      • It seemed a case of "sound and fury, signifying nothing".
        • Richard Farris has the same initials as Randall Flagg and other King antagonists who represent some sort of evil force.
        • And yet, while the box does indeed seem to cause harm when a button is pushed, why would an evil person give it to someone like Gwendy who has the strength of character to (almost) never use it?
    • There are anachronisms, one of which stuck out pretty strongly to me. Gwendy is my age if she was 12 in 1974. Therefore when a coin dealer offers her some state collectible quarters that I actually collected with my son in the 1990s and 2000s it seemed a pretty silly oversight.
    • The button box moves on to the next person and the story just sort of ends. 
    • I am glad it only took less than a day to read. Not sure I would read another collaboration of this kind. I guess I prefer my Stephen King books undiluted.
    • Recommended for Stephen King completists.
    • ★ ★

1 comment:

  1. I am concerned by the promotion of the "one-piece-of-candy-a-day" diet. 1962 final results: Kelly 38, Gwendolyn 161.