Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Jacket Blurb: What if someone
discovers your secret dream, that one great wish you would give anything
for? And what if that person makes your dream come true—before you
learn the price you have to pay? Something Wicked This Way Comes is the
story of two boys who encounter the sinister wonders of Cooger &
Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show. They will soon discover the show's awful
mystery—a mystery that will change the life of every person it
touches—in this stunning masterwor of dark fantasy by Ray Bradbury.
A Classic of this nature one simply does not 'review'. I'll leave that to the Literature courses found in schools and higher education institutions. This is more my observations and thoughts on this particular Bradbury story.
I "read" this as an audiobook. The narrators voice added a delightful intensity to the dark subject matter of time, the passing of innocence, aging and death. He brought to life the characters of Will and Jim, the anguish of Mr. Halloway, and the shadowy world of Mr. Dark the Illustrated Man. A good narrator draws you into the story that you just can't get from pages in a book.
In all honesty, I really waffled between being totally blown away by Bradbury's use of the English language to describe and illuminate, and being bored by his over use of the English language to describe and illuminate. I think his penchant for simile becomes annoying in a longer story.
Additionally, are several points in the book where the characters talk at great length about the state of affairs and in Bradbury's very flowing and almost flowery language, it becomes...pontification. And yes, I recognize that it is a reflection of the times in which Bradbury lived, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Appreciate it, yes, enjoy as part of the story, not so much.
Acknowledging the time period in which this was written, and having just read the Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451 in the last 6 months, I am amused by the behavior of small boys as portrayed in these stories. Perpetually smart, incredibly polite, minding their Sir's and Ma'am's, but yet still managing to be 13 year old boys by sneaking out windows, running around at 3am in the morning, and doing their utmost to protect their mama's. The smartness factor had me rolling my eyes a bit, as it does in Heinlein's books, with the expectations that all children should be highly educated and perfectly behaved.
And - my personal quirk - another reason why not to like carnies...they are just creepy. I've not seen the movie adaptation of the book. Torn between wanting to and meh, read the book attitude.
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