Gwendy’s Button Box
by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar
Rating: 2 of 5 stars
Posted simultaneously here and on Goodreads
Here I go again, rating a book by one of my favorite authors a paltry 2 stars. What the hell’s wrong with me, you ask? I guess I’m becoming crankier and harder to please as I age. Maybe I’m just annoyed by the growing recent trend of established, popular, successful writers coauthoring inferior works with lesser-known but not necessarily less talented writers, a practice which, as far as I can tell, often serves more to dilute a book’s quality rather than improve it.
The story takes place over approximately 8 years of Gwendy’s life but occupies only 170 pages with lots of white space and several full-page illustrations. That’s a lot of ground to cover in such a short space. Combined with the omniscient narration that tells way more than shows the events, the novella reads more like a series of newspaper clippings than the moving story of a sympathetic protagonist. Gwendy’s tale may play much better as an episode in Hulu’s forthcoming JJ Abrams/Stephen King series Castle Rock (I can’t wait for it!) than it did as a novella. Maybe that was the intent all along.
I kinda wish I had checked this one out at the library instead of spending my money on a pre-ordered copy.