Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Don't make Carrie slap you.
Read it!
As you all know, Ray Bradbury passed away in early June of this year.  When that happened, Carrie and I were discussing some of his work (Carrie has read more than I have and I'm pretty sure she's a card-carrying member of his fan club) and I mentioned that I had yet to read this particular book.  Carrie eye-slapped me for this gross oversight and we found ourselves at the poor excuse for a book store in my previous location's metro area to rectify the situation.  If you've read any of my other reviews, then you've likely read a review of something Stephen King authored, and Carrie informed me that Something Wicked This Way Comes would appeal to the dark and mysterious genre I enjoy.  She was right.

The carnival rolls into town a week before Halloween in the middle of the night.  All manner of things seem not quite right, but not completely wrong; the steam engine seems to be a relic, there was no advanced advertising, the music from the carousel calliope seems to be running backwards, smells waft through the air downtown several miles from the carnival itself, and all of that happens before the carnival is open for business.  But two boys know.  Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade bore witness to the carnival's entrance to town, not just because they saw it with their own eyes but because they sensed it to a certain degree.  Will and Jim live next door to one another and best friends the way only twelve year old boys know how to be best friends.  They are inseparable.  They can communicate without words.  They know their way around town in the dark as well as they know the way in full daylight.  They keep no secrets from one another and their pockets are full of the world's forgotten treasures.  As they grow up they are becoming more aware that they might not be the same, and then the carnival comes to town and that becomes more evident than ever.

Jim and Will go to enjoy the carnival and end up discovering more than they want to know.  Some of the attractions are too real.  There's a maze of mirrors with true reflections.....of the days past or the days ahead.  There is, of course, the sideshow tent with its myriad traveling population: The Skeleton, The Dwarf (who looks all too familiar), The Dust Witch blind by all-seeing, and The Illustrated Man whose tattoos are much too real to be the product of needles and ink.  But most disturbing of all is the after hours ride the boys see one of the owners take on the carousel.  As the ride spins backwards, so do the years from the man riding it and he leaps off the carousel as twelve year old boy.  The boys realize that one of their teachers is being played by the new twelve year old and go after him.  A chase ensues and the boy ends up back on the carousel, this time to replace the years he took away and then deal with Jim and Will as an adult, but the boys break the carousel's control panel.  The co-owner ends up spinning and spinning on the magic carousel and ends up ancient and unable to move.  Now the Jim and Will know too much and are enemies of the carnival.  But who can help them with such a fantastic chain of events?

Don't worry, the boys find a friend and hero in Will's father.  They all learn many things about themselves and how the world of the "autumn people" works.  Most importantly they learn that life is only worth the living they do.  Though the story is (wonderfully) frightful, sometimes I found myself admiring the prose more than the plot.  Mr. Bradbury had an unparalleled way with words.  I would re-read passages just to hear the words in my head one more time.  And this was his way of describing the dark actions taking place, not pastoral scenery or love scenes.  Basically, it was a great story told greatly.  That's probably why it's a classic.  That's definitely why I should have read this sooner.  And you?  Have you read this?  Are you a Bradbury fan? Pin It


  1. I am. I am. I am.
    But you already knew that.

  2. I can honestly say I have not read anything of Ray Bradbury's. Not sure I will, but you never know. Maybe I should and then suggest it to the bookclub. I am really not a fan of scary things though. I have not read any Stephen King either. I may have to pass this one by.