May Books

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I only got through one book this month. I picked up Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury as a break from some nonfiction reading. I was surprised by the deliberate pace of the book and took my time getting through it. There’s a lot to love in the details. The descriptions are striking. I’m left with vivid pictures in my head of the characters and of some wonderfully weird, tense moments near the end of the book.

I’m less impressed by the plot and left feeling like the whole experience was less than the sum of its parts. There is plenty of possible symbolism and maybe a moral to the story, but it seems to exist for atmosphere as much as anything else. It’s possible this all went over my head and I’d catch it on a second read. For now I see this book as a good ghost story that externalizes the dreams and fears of a 13-year-old boy. My favorite bit was the relatively mundane conversation with Will’s father about how being good doesn’t make you happy, and being happy doesn’t make you a good person (which takes on new meaning in the context of the book’s ending).

In retrospect it makes sense that this story was written to be adapted to the screen, and I’ll be interested to learn if the film or radio play work any better for me than the novel did.

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