Something Wicked This Way Comes Group Read SPOILER Thread
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I am reading it for the first time tonight, and hope to have some comments tomorrow....
I liked the story but felt I had to work hard at pulling its bones out of the verbiage. The father finally finding it in himself to engage with his boy, and the boy's best friend, was very moving and I loved the ending where he is willing to dash in a race with the boys, his weak heart be damned.
I found the magic of the carnival a bit thick and hard to manage. Was it all metaphor?
I liked it and rated it 3.75 stars (4 for LT).
It's the first Bradbury I've read. For you that have read others, is the style typical?
I've enjoyed what everyone has said about the verbage here and on the non-spoilers thread. I absolutely loved some of the descriptions. At others times, I felt the pillows and billows of words got in the way of a knife-edged horror story.
My favorite moment was when the father stepped up with the rifle. I definitely had flashbacks of Atticus Finch stepping up to shoot the rabid dog.
Or maybe I'm just rooting for the middle aged hero.
ETA~~I also loved the Dad. Mr. Halloway was my favorite character.
A story of two boys who stand between their town and eternal damnation which comes in the shape of a carnival. Or something. This is like reading an epic poem, only without the rhymes. The wording and phrases are a wonder to behold. Bradbury carefully stretches, pulls and mashes his character's character into shape right before your very eyes. He draws pictures, paints sets and creates a world for you to step into, full of atmosphere and life. If I had any beef with the writing, it would be that occasionally, when he has me sitting on the edge of my seat because of the suspense, he will wander down the passages of a characters mind, meandering here and there while he explores all the possibilities. Frustrating.
Let me be very clear. I love Charles Halloway. I love the whole father-son developing relationship. I've seen this older father and younger son thing in a friend's family, and enjoy the son's wonder at discovering his father is more than just an "old man." The respect that blooms and the growth that occurs for both of them.
As for the style, I've only read Fahrenheit 451, but I would say this style of word, using words to plumb the depths of a character's thoughts, is Bradbury's style. He is a poet.
My favorite quotes:
This one for the downright creepiness factor,
"Its horses, goats, antelopes, zebras, speared through their spines with brass javelins, hung contorted as in a death rictus, asking mercy with their fright-colored eyes, seeking revenge with their panic-colored teeth."
Does that describe a merry-go-round, or what? Especially the old ones, the ones with a calliope at the center.
This one for its truth,
"Good is no guarantee for your body. It's mainly for peace of mind."
I rather like that the moms were almost entirely absent in this father/son story. Moms have their own stories to tell and live with their sons, but this one was about the dad.
ETA: Some thoughts that are bouncing in my head.
Almost all of us have said that we had to put it down repeatedly until we pushed through at the end. Mr. Bradbury surely knew how to write compelling stories, so did he do this to us on purpose? Did he want us to stop and ponder the significance of growing old before our time or staying younger than we aught? Did he want us to stop and consider what joy does in our lives each day, and the power of it and of love for good in us?
He dedicated this to Gene Kelly and wrote the screenplay for him. I haven't seen the movie. Is it a musical? I think I can just see Kelly as Halloway, but I would see Spencer Tracy in the role better.
Where the devil is PeaBee?
As I have said in other threads, at this point in my life I hate being told what to think - be it a suggestion from political pundit, an author, or a friend, I just can't stand it. Bradbury's prose, even early on, makes that mistake. "Ain't Fury a great name for a lightning rod salesman?" or some such - argh.
Putting this one current annoyance of mine aside, Bradbury's descriptions are poetic and beautifully written.
But they take too damned much time to read for the little plot one gets out of them.
Perhaps I am getting cranky as I age. For me, at my point in life, I need the prose i read to be at least one of the following, the more the better: Moving. Brief. Funny. Sexy. Comforting. Informative. Thought-provoking. Bradbury is descriptive, but didn't move me. He is rarely funny. This book, is never comforting, and is certainly not sexy (nor should it be.) It never caused me to think about anything I didn't already think about by age twenty, and it taught me nothing in the brief portion I read.
I can see why I liked it when I was younger. It is impressive prose, and your mind does cartwheels taking in the complexity. But some of the details rang really false. The brutish caveman doesn't look with kindness on his mate and children because he senses the darkness in them and their brief span of life in an infinity of death. I've never felt that looking at my wife as she slept. I think many things, from the sublime to the carnal, but never that.
Further, the descriptions create vision. It's a book a child who loves film and television should use as a gateway to reading, as it is halfway to a detailed screenplay that attempts to describe every character's motion, leaving nothing to the imagination.
And that's perhaps what I hated most of all about Bradbury's prose. He leaves nothing to my imagination. He describes everything. The best books take me on a journey, but I fill out lots of the details.
Bradbury left me with nothing to do but read.