Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Something Wicked This Way Comes

This is yet another book I picked up at a library book sale years ago, and it has lingered sadly on my shelves once I realized it was by Ray Bradbury. I just liked the title and in the mad rush to grab cheap books by the bag full, I hadn't looked at it too closely. I'm glad I didn't, and that I finally read it because I really liked it!

A little background: I had to read Fahrenheit 451 my sophomore year of high school - when I had a teacher I called Mrs. Satan. She was seriously not right in the head. We spent probably two whole months on this short work. We had to find all of the allusions in it - I found over 400! And yet, I ended up with a C on the assignment because on a different assignment, we had to write about which character we identified with the most, and I picked someone who wouldn't have been able to come up with that many allusions, so I got Cs on both assignments!!! Oh, I was so angry. And clearly I'm still a little angry about it! Anyway, I reread it not that long ago, and I still didn't really enjoy it. I felt Bradbury's writing was a little weak and the story just wasn't really developed. So, I didn't have high hopes for Something Wicked this Way Comes.
But...I was so wrong! I ended up really enjoying it. It's about two 13-year-old boys who stumble upon the dark deeds happening at a creepy carnival and get mixed up in some crazy stuff, along with the dad of one of the boys. It kept me hooked and was a fast read - I read all but the first chapter in one day. I loved the descriptions and scenes in the library, about how the library takes you to far away lands and worlds and times. You get to become a warrior, a prince, a president and experience things you can't experience in real life.

One thing I found interesting was how much parts of the book reminded me of the movie Big. The stories overall are completely different, and the tone of this is much darker than Big, but I'm pretty sure whoever wrote Big must have read this and thought "I wonder what would happen if..." even if they did it subconsciously. Both have start with a creepy carnival scene at night, and both involve aging machines, and it was just something in the descriptions that made me keep thinking about Big.

Speaking of movies, as I was reading I kept thinking that this really seemed more like a movie. It was very easy to visualize each chapter as a scene, and the only rough parts in the writing were spots were I thought it would be easier to see the action play out on screen that to write out a description about it. Oddly enough, in the epilogue Bradbury says it was originally a screenplay (well, originally, it was a start to a short story) and that when that failed, he turned it in to a novel. He wrote the screenplay because Gene Kelly wanted him to write something he could play a role in - isn't that funny?

Liking this book makes me want to explore more of Bradbury's backlist. I think The Illustrated Man would be one I want to look into, because he plays a role in this book. Has anyone else read any of his other books? What do you recommend?

This is my sixth book in Adam's Magical March challenge!


  1. Hi Lindsey,

    I'm a huge Bradbury fan - I read and reread his books obsessively in high school and college. My two favorites are The Martian Chronicles and Dandelion Wine. I love that he is so good at science fiction and also more general fiction - he doesn't rely on gimmick, but on original ideas, which transcends genre.

  2. Thanks! I'll add those to my list!

  3. Cool! I love Big and I love dark twists. Maybe I will love Ray Bradbury one day, too! Definitely putting this on my TBR pile!