Gwendy’s Button Box: A Novella

Stephen King teams up with long-time friend and award-winning author Richard Chizmar for the first time in this original, chilling novella that revisits the mysterious town of Castle Rock.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

Stephen King teams up with long-time friend and award-winning author Richard Chizmar for the first time in this original, chilling novella that revisits the mysterious town of Castle Rock.

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 precarious cliffside.

Then one day when Gwendy gets to the top of Castle View, after catching her breath and hearing the shouts of kids on the playground below, a stranger calls to her. There on a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat, 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…

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.

Comments

Rob Kirkbride says:

King and Co. Nail What it’s Like to be a Kid I’ll start with this: Stephen King does not just write horror. This is a good example. Yes, there are some horrible things that happen in this book, but it is not a horror novella. It is a tightly written, beautiful book about what it’s like growing up. It’s about good vs. evil (and making the right choices to keep one or the other at bay). It is about the gray areas of life — choices made and the consequences that come with them. It is fantastical, to be sure. But it also nails Stephen King’s ability to create characters that happen to be children that are incredibly complex. When I picked up this book, I didn’t know a thing about the other author listed — and I’m not sure how much he was involved in the writing of the book, but I’m going to check his work out based on how much I liked this.

Richard H. Hibbert says:

A Simple Morality Tale I started to give this novella three stars, but the description for that rating says “it’s okay.” The description for four stars says “I like it.” Those three words describe my feeling toward this slight and yet meaningful story. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, primarily because I enjoy the rich details and well-developed characters that make the stories come alive. in this collaboration with Richard Chizmar, his tendency to go big has been restrained. This is a simple tale that poses a question for the reader to ponder. I think of it as a parable or a morality tale. Gwendy receives a mysterious gift from a mysterious person that challenges her in her developmental years to reflect on power and its use. Gwendy is a wonderful character whose development is full of challenges and dilemmas. She struggles with her love of the good things that the box brings to her and the potential for problems that it poses. That for me is the heart of the tale – what price…

The Just-About-Average Ms. M says:

A Girl and Her Buttons An uncomplicated and different story from the Master of the Macabre, with just a frisson of the supernatural to give it a little kick in the pants. I thought the story was much more about choices made for good or ill, about growing up, maturing, really, and dealing with what could have been an unfortunate obsession than any sort of “horror story.” And as always, King presents another spot-on juvenile character to like and remember. 

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