Monday, August 30, 2010

Premature Book Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes (Ray Bradbury, 1962)

While at heart a young readers novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes is very engaging, even to an old fart like me. Maybe more even, as part of the theme involves lost youth.

I hate to admit it, but this is my first Ray Bradbury book. I know, I know. "And you call yourself a nerd? Pshaw!" Two things endeared me to Bradbury. One, he wrote a screenplay for Moby Dick, but confesses to having never read the book (I could not get through it). And second, last week's Nerd Girl of Note, Rachel Bloom, whose seemingly genuine devotion to Bradbury was quite inspiring. Back to the book.

The best thing I can say is that I cannot stop reading it. I am a slow, slow, reader, and have plowed through this at an atypical pace. Unlike most teen directed novels, however, it is not overly easy to read, and by that I mean the language and the themes are not simple. In fact, I would say that while this is clearly enjoyable to young readers, like Treasure Island, it is not necessarily for them. Because the book involves two young boys facing danger, it is compelling to young readers, but as we all know, youth is wasted on the young. I don't know about you, but I don't remember confronting dangers as a child. I do, however, remember doing things that now make me shudder. "What the hell was I thinking?!?" Of course, the dangers in this book are, to these fictional boys, very real, and very dangerous. I guess I should mention the story?

Two young boys live next door to each other and were born just minutes apart, one just before midnight on October 30th, and one just after midnight on October 31st. They are, thus far, lifelong friends. One is adventurous, the other more practical. When "Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show" comes to town the week before Halloween, they are compelled to find out about this mysterious occurrence. They uncover something sinister, of course, and begin to investigate.

As I said, this is my first Bradbury, and will not be my last. Nothing entices me like an evil carnival, so I had to grab this one over the perhaps more notable titles. As we are slowly approaching Halloween, I definitely recommend this for a high spot on your pile of books to read.

14 comments:

iasa said...

I'm a huge Bradbury fan. I mean I don't wanna fuck him, but I would say hello at the mall. Anyway, this is one work I haven't read, in fact I forgot he wrote it. But you have piqued my interest, I will have to check the library for it

Tommy Salami said...

A great book, and an enjoyable movie adaptation. "I'm shooting you with my smile..."

Darius Whiteplume said...

@iasa - I think you will dig it. Good luck at the library!

@TS - Mr. Dark sucked me in right away. There seems to be a lot of him in Count Olaf ;-)

Atom Kid said...

Ray Bradbury is my favorite author. For a while I had Ray Bradbury Saturday on my blog, but it's kind of fallen on the wayside. I'll have to start that up again.

Something Wiked This Way Comes never really struck me as a young adult book. Maybe it seemed too spooky to seem that way. Although the fact that Disney made a movie out of it doesn't help. I love his fascination with Halloween!

Darius Whiteplume said...

@AK - I may be taking for granted that it is youth oriented because of the characters' age. It has a definite appeal for younger readers, particularly Jim Nightshade. Not being too far into, the real scares have not started, but it definitely looks like things will get ugly. To not spoil it for others, they just figured out who their teacher's nephew is.

dfordoom said...

On the whole I don't like Bradbury at all. Much too sentimental and corny. But I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Copyboy said...

I didn't realize it was a book. I remember the movie scared the $#@ out of me. The lexus guy was in it.

Darius Whiteplume said...

@D - I was always put off by Bradbury. I'll think I'll give The Illustrated Man a shot, but not sure where, if anywhere, I'll go from there.

@Copyboy - Jonathan Price makes a great villain, and Pam Grier is in it, so I'll be checking it out for sure.

iasa said...

all this talk of the book forced an early library visit for me. I'm gonna settle in and crack it open

Darius Whiteplume said...

@iasa - I hope I did not over-inflate it :-|

kenchan13 said...

The movie is EPIC!!

Darius Whiteplume said...

I should have it... Tuesday, maybe. Depends on how quickly we get the current movie back to NF. I need to knock the book out pronto!

Nathan said...

I read this in ninth grade. I remember not getting around to starting it for a long time, but once I did, it was hard to put down.

Darius Whiteplume said...

@Nathan - I enjoyed the book a lot. Will likely read it again, someday.

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