Review: Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

Title: Gwendy’s Button Box
Author: Stephen King and Richard Chizmar
Date Read: 25 May 2017
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 3 Stars

In the summer of 1974, you can find Gwendy Peterson doing her daily run up the Suicide Stairs. On one particular day, she comes to the top and meets a man in black by the name of Richard Farris. He informs her that she’s been chosen as the recipient of a little button box. Each color pops out something different, each with its own magical and mysterious powers. Thus starts the beginning of Gwendy’s new adventure, one filled with perfect grades, perfect body, and perfect life. But there is one button that she doesn’t want to push at all; it’s a button that could potentially destroy the world if she wants to.

Unlike other books by the King of Horror (no pun intended–okay, maybe a little), this is a small novella of about 200 pages AND co-written with another author with whom I know nothing about. King is one of those authors that I read every couple of years or so and even then his books are hit or miss for me. I picked this book because it was his newest release and didn’t look like it’d take very long, probably an afternoon if you have one readily available, at the most a couple of days.

This story reminded me a lot like Pandora’s Box, in a way. Gwendy’s not sure what she might find inside and whether or not she can put it back into the box once it’s ready. The concept of this book was intriguing because it bears the following question:

Are the events of our life the result of our choices and actions, or are we under the influence of some unknown power?

I don’t know what King’s religious views are but it seems to propose that maybe it’s a mixture of both. We have some control of our lives, but we are also at the mercy of others’ views, choices, and mental states, especially when they cross our path and their actions conflict with ours. Maybe it’s even a mixture of both. It’s up to the reader to decide.

What I like about this book is the fact that it’s self contained. You’re given just enough information to know what’s going on in Gwendy’s immediate world, but it’s not bogged down with to many characters and sub plots. With another author, this would fall flat, but in this book, you’re able to race through the book and ponder why there is a button box, etc.

This is the one time where I wish I had more information. I wanted to know more about Mr. Farris and even about Gwendy’s parents. It wasn’t necessary for what was being written, but I wouldn’t have minded reading more.

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