I never thought I would be a King fan, but I definitely am. The more I read from him, the more I want to read. Seriously, now I have a regular To-Be-Read list, and a Stephen King TBR list. And I think the Stephen King list is growing faster than its less specific brother. There are so many of his books that I have a hard time deciding where to go next. But honestly, I’m not sure this book would have even been on my radar if not for the cool cover. It’s a novella, and has a coauthor, so I was hesitant. Also, the 165 page book was 25 dollars. Why? But my library got a copy, so I decided to give a go, since it wouldn’t take long.
And it made for such a fun evening! As stated above, it was very short, and only took about an hour and a half to read. The print was fairly large and there were illustrations, which made for an even faster read. But what added the most readability was the story itself. King and Chizmar did a wonderful job crafting Gwendy and the box that would dominate her life.
When we meet her, Gwendy is a chubby, self-conscious girl trying to lose weight before she starts middle school. On her run up the Suicide Stairs in Castle Rock (does that town sound familiar, King fans?), she meets a man in a tiny black bowler hat. His name is Richard Farris (does that name remind you of other names with the same initials, King fans?). Mr. Farris entrusts Gwendy with a magical mahogany box, witch has two tiny levers that dispense magical chocolates and rare silver dollars. But those are just little rewards the box doles out to those entrusted with its care. Because this box is a button box, and the power of those buttons is more than any person should wield, much less a twelve-year-old girl.
The story follows Gwendy through middle school, high school, and college. We see her grow up and change, and how her view of the button box changes. We see what the box does for her, and what she does with the box. And we see how the box’s effects impact others in Gwendy’s life. It doesn’t sound nearly as fascinating as it actually is. There’s a lot more to the box, and to Gwendy’s life with the box, but I’ll leave those things to be discovered.
One thing that a lot of King fans agree on is the fact that he’s not the best at writing endings. But guess what? This little book had a great ending! I don’t know if that’s because it was short or because King was writing with a partner or what. However it came to be, I loved the ending. I loved the novella all the way through. Hopefully the price will eventually drop, because I would love to own this little book and reread it. If you’re a King fan, I think you’ll really enjoy this novella. If you’re new to King, this would be a great way to dip a toe into the ocean of his works. And even if you haven’t been a fan of King’s work in the past, I think you should give this one a try. It’s without a doubt a novella worth reading.