Oh, this was so much fun to read!
Everything appears normal at first until Gwendy meets the man in the black hat at Castle View. Richard Farris gives Gwendy the button box and explains how it works. After their meeting, Gwendy’s life is never the same. A lot happens in 170 pages. The story begins in August of 1974 when Gwendy is twelve years old and ends in June of 1984.
I felt Gwendy’s constant anxiety over the box. She worried about somebody stealing it and misusing it. The button box and its contents appear to be a magic pill because every aspect of her life improves to the point where it feels too good to be true, too perfect. I had a nagging feeling that something bad was about to happen, which kept me turning the pages. If you’re familiar with Stephen King, you know something bad will happen. It’s just a matter of when and what. I just loved that suspense. It’s a quick read that you can devour in one sitting.
I love it when authors reference literature, pop culture, and even historical events. In this novella, Stephen King references Gravity’s Rainbow, the Eagles, and the JFK assassination. He’s very consistent with these types of references.
It has a tidy ending, complete with a warm, fuzzy feeling, but don’t be fooled. This story has its tragedy. I just wish this were a full-length novel.
Overall, I love the characterization, the suspense, and the storytelling. I recommend this to any Stephen King fan.