by Stephen King, Richard Chizmar
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Narrator: Maggie Siff
Length: 2 hours and 42 minutes
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Narration Rating: 5
INCLUDES KING'S EDGAR AWARD-NOMINATED STORY "THE MUSIC ROOM" AND A CONVERSATION BETWEEN STEPHEN KING & RICHARD CHIZMAR!
Stephen King teams up with long-time friend and award-winning author Richard Chizmar for the first time in this original, chilling novella that revisits the town of Castle Rock—paired on audio with King’s Edgar Award–nominated story “The Music Room.”
There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974, twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong—if time-rusted—iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.
Then one day when Gwendy gets to the top of Castle View, after catching her breath and hearing the shouts of kids on the playground below, a stranger calls to her. There on a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small, neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat…
The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told—until now.
GWENDY”S BUTTON BOX by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar was a riveting, twisted audio listen. Narrated by the wickedly talented Maggie Siff, King and Chizmar worked their magic and transported me to the summer of 1974 as our tale begins on the Suicide Stairs in Castle Rock. Would you accept Gwendy’s Button Box?
Five Caffeinated Reasons to listen to Gwendy’s Button Box
- The premise for GWENDY”S BUTTON BOX was brilliant. The box was both fascinating and terrifying. Think of Pandora’s Box. It offers up wonderful gifts to tempt you, but in the wrong hands, it could wreak unimaginable havoc. A strange man wearing a black hat is waiting for our pudgy, insecure protagonist at the top of Suicide Stairs where he offers her a gift. A beautiful mahogany box with colored buttons. Then he shows her what one of the buttons can do. Would you accept the box? What if it could give you your heart’s desire?
- Gwendy Peterson, our twelve-year-old protagonist, is your typical pre-teen who’s trying to better her physical appearance after some boys called her names. Throughout the story we see her deal with the button box, friendships, school and social standings. Will she use the box? What happens if she gets upset? This writing duo shared a suspenseful tale, and I found myself holding my breath as the story progressed. Even creepier, the box seemed to anticipate her needs. Gwendy could sense its pull and the box seemed to understand her vulnerabilities.
- I loved the mysterious man in the black hat. Every time he appeared, I would get goosebumps. You just knew it wasn’t good. His caring, soft tones and gentle pushes made me nervous. We aren’t given a lot of detail about this creepy old man, and while a part of me wanted answers, it is also what made him terrifying.
- The story that unfolded was captivated, and Maggie Stiff captured the characters and delivered the tone of this chilling tale beautifully. From the very first sentence to the last I was held completely spellbound. I loved the ended as it left just enough of an open ending to leave me pondering possible outcomes.
The audio edition of GWENDY”S BUTTON BOX also contains King’s Edgar Award–nominated story “The Music Room.” King uses the painting A Room in New York by Edward Hooper as his inspiration and shares the story of the Enderbys, a childless couple, living during the Great Depression. Food is scarce and money is tight. They invite folks into their home and place them in a sound proof closet. This short was fantastic. What would you do to survive?
We are also treated to an interview with Stephen King and Richard Chizmar. They discuss the story and their collaboration. It was a fun, informative listen. At under three hours, this audio is the perfect length for your next road trip. Only don’t
listen drive at night and you might want to bring a friend!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
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