Gwendy’s Button Box
By Stephen King and Richard Chizmar
Summary: 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!
Source: I purchased a hardcover
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Gwendy’s Button Box was a short story about a girl and a box. Gwendy Peterson met a man in a hat one summer day who gave her a box that changed her life. The buttons could do the worst, but one of them just gave her a piece of chocolate that kept her from craving the sweets and extra portions that made her heavy. She was determined to shake off the Goodyear nickname when she began middle school. A lever gave her a silver coin worth hundreds of dollars as well. Mr. Farris, the man in the hat, said that she was the right fit for the box. She wondered what that meant.
I loved the book for about 90% of it. Gwendy was faced with such a conundrum. She was improving her own life, losing weight, getting good grades, and excelling in sports. She improved the lives of her parents who, before the box, were spiraling into a unhappy cycle of alcoholism and hating each other. She could see the good it did. When she pressed the bad button in a moment of curiosity, she was sick for days and a horrible cult was poisoned. Was that her fault?
I loved the premise of the book/novella and I was eager to see how it would all unfold.
I really hate to spoil books, but it’s hard to properly review this one without mentioning how much I disliked the ending. And as a King fan, I’m used to some pretty unfinished endings. But this one really takes the cake. I almost want to throw the book across the room, but not because the ending was BAD. I hate to spoil it, but the book’s ending was good… Everything worked out well for Gwendy and I just feel little bewildered. I mean, this premise isn’t supposed to end well, right?
I feel like I wasted my time, but I suppose the novella was short enough to not really matter in the grand scheme of things. But seriously. Who ends a story like that?