Sunday, December 18, 2016

SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES





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Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury, Alfred A Knopf, 1962, 307 pp


Ray Bradbury's classic was going to be my Halloween book. I am glad I chose We Have Always Lived in the Castle. They are both about dealing with evil but Shirley Jackson did it better.

In Something Wicked, the story takes place in Green Town, IL, a week before Halloween when a ratty carnival comes to town, blown in on a dark and stormy night. Best friends Jim and Will, both just days from turning 14, can't resist. They live next door to each other and have years of practice sneaking out at night.

What they witness at that carnival freaks out each boy in a different way. Will runs from it, Jim is drawn in. What follows is loss of innocence, one boy coming to an understanding with his father, while the other figures out his deepest desires.

It is a classic story about good vs evil, innocence vs experience, and the cusp of adulthood. I had a problem, as I usually do reading Bradbury, with his awkward and overwrought prose and with the transparency of his themes. I was sorely tempted to leave the book unfinished but I kept reading and hoping to figure out what makes this book so admired by so many.

So I finished, I did not figure it out, and I am done with reading Ray Bradbury. I have read seven of his books and had the same experience nearly every time. I liked The Martian Chronicles best, but I prefer Neil Gaiman for innocence lost stories and Shirley Jackson for creepy evil ones. 


(Something Wicked This Way Comes is currently available in paperback on the shelf at Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

12 comments:

  1. I want to read this one someday. Too bad you didn't like it.

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    1. I will want to know how you liked it!

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  2. Honest Judy, I prefer "We Have Always Lived in the Castle". And I intend to read it. Hope you are having a wonderfully relaxing time!

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    1. Just today my wonderfully relaxing time begins. All holiday activities are duly completed. Now I can just stay home and read!

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  3. I read this recently and enjoyed it more than you did (and more than I'd expected to) but I agree with you about the awkward prose. It distracted me from the story. I would like to try something else by Bradbury at some point - probably The Martian Chronicles.

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    1. That is it exactly. The prose distracts one from the story. I hope you enjoy The Martian Chronicles.

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  4. Well you are done with Bradbury. I have not read him, but I have Shirley Jackson, and I like how she does evil. I will stick with Shirley. Though there's something creepy about a carnival at night. Definitely.

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    1. That carnival was truly creepy and was probably what I liked best about the story.

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  5. I remember reading The Martian Chronicles long ago in another lifetime and I remember liking it, but I don't think I've read any other Bradbury works. Not sure I want to after reading your review!

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    1. Well, if you want to take my advice, I would say don't waste your time!

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  6. I am sorry to hear you didn't particularly enjoy this one. I have enjoyed many of Bradbury's novels including this one, but after all it would be a very dull world if we all liked the same things ;-)

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