Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Reader's Diary #1694: Stephen King and Richard Chizmar: Gwendy's Button Box

It's been a while since I've read any Stephen King, so when I came across a novella, I figured it was an easy time to give him another go. Besides being short, it had the added attraction of being co-written by Richard Chizmar. I enjoyed King's previous co-authored projects with Richard Straub and I was also keen on discovering an author unknown to me.

Not long ago I had read Arthur Slade's Dust and commented on how the villain, Abram, reminded me of a Stephen King character. Reading Gwendy's Button Box confirmed my comparison. Mr. Farris and Abram were definitely cut from the same cloth.

However, this is the titular Gwendy's story, and it's very much a coming-of-age tale. As a young girl enters puberty and begins to mature, she realizes how much power she has to affect the world, for good or for bad. In this case, the power comes from a mysterious button box given to her by a stranger (Mr. Farris), but it wouldn't be difficult for readers to ignore the box altogether, or at the very least, write it off as a placebo.

There's also a message here about self-restraint and as such, I'm sure some readers will be left longing for more disastrous drama than the book provided. I, however, was content with the death count! It's certainly one of King's less morbid tales and I would even venture as far as saying that it's his first YA novel though I haven't seen it marketed that way yet.

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