Title: Gwendy’s Button Box
Author: Stephen King & Richard Chizmar
No. of pages: 175
Genre: Fantasy, horror, short story
Publication date: May 16th 2017
Date read: 13 July 2017
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…
This was a very quick read, so I think my review won’t be too long! In the story, Gwendy gets a very powerful box from Richard Farris, the man in black on top of the Suicide Stairs. On the box there are a couple of buttons that represent the eight continents, but there are also a red and a black button. It was quite exciting to discover what these buttons were able to cause, but you soon get to know that it isn’t anything good.
There was a part in the book where the students in Gwendy’s class get to ask a question which they will then discuss in class. Gwendy asks a question about a button that, when pushed, can cause horrible things and what place/continent they would target. I thought this was a bit of an unrealistic part in the story. Yes, I know the story is fiction, so not real, but there are some things that can help to make it feel like the story could actually be real. Do you know what I mean? The teacher allows the children to discuss what parts of the world they would blow up, so the teacher kind of allows them to hate-talk. I don’t think teachers would allow such questions in reality, so that was quite unrealistic to me. I don’t know, these were just my thoughts while reading the book!
But overall, I really enjoyed this cute little mystery/horror story. You really get to feel the pressure that Gwendy feels because of her responsibility of the button box. There’s mystery, horror and loss, all in only 175 pages!