Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When Gwendy Peterson meets a mysterious man in black on top of Suicide Stairs, he gives her the button box. One lever gives her a candy, one lever gives her a silver dollar, and the buttons give only death...
I've been a Constant Reader for a long time. This showed up on my BookGorilla email one morning and I gave it a shot. The writing was vintage King. It felt like putting on a favorite T-shirt.
Castle Rock and a character with the initials RF are back! A middle schooler winds up with a device of unimaginable power and with great power, everybody now, comes great responsibility. Gwendy's Button Box is a coming of age tale. Gwendy Peterson goes from middle school to high school with a monkey on her back in the shape of a box studded with eight buttons and two levers.
In some ways, the story reminded me of that Richard Matheson Twilight Zone episode that later became the movie The Box. Giving Gwendy the button box sounds like a fantastic act of destructive mischief on behalf of King's go-to bad guy. As I wolfed down the pages like a hungry billybumbler, I envisioned the horrors that were sure to wait for me at the end of the book.
Yeah, there was an ending but it wasn't the one I was picturing or anything near that Path of the Beam. It was letdown, not unlike the ending of The Colorado Kid. Lots of build up with not much of a payoff in this Constant Reader's opinion. While King's high up in my pantheon of writers, he's not lofty enough for me to pretend I enjoyed the last 10%. 3.5 out of 5.
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