There’s a dark well in everyone, I think, and it never goes dry. But you drink from it at your peril. That water is poison.-Fairy Tale by Stephen King
Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets Howard Bowditch, a recluse with a big dog in a big house at the top of a big hill. In the backyard is a locked shed from which strange sounds emerge, as if some creature is trying to escape. When Mr. Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie the house, a massive amount of gold, a cassette tape telling a story that is impossible to believe, and a responsibility far too massive for a boy to shoulder.
Because within the shed is a portal to another world—one whose denizens are in peril and whose monstrous leaders may destroy their own world, and ours. In this parallel universe, where two moons race across the sky, and the grand towers of a sprawling palace pierce the clouds, there are exiled princesses and princes who suffer horrific punishments; there are dungeons; there are games in which men and women must fight each other to the death for the amusement of the “Fair One.” And there is a magic sundial that can turn back time.
A story as old as myth, and as startling and iconic as the rest of King’s work, Fairy Tale is about an ordinary guy forced into the hero’s role by circumstance, and it is both spectacularly suspenseful and satisfying.
There’s a reason I keep coming back to Stephen King. He’s an iconic author with millions of Constant Readers always picking up his books, new and old. He’s one of my favorite writers of all time, and his books will always have a special place in my heart.
I didn’t always read Stephen King. I was afraid of horror at one point, worried that reading it would send me into the world of nightmares. But it actually didn’t. (Okay, occasionally it has). If you take a look at Stephen King’s books, you see how versatile of a writer he is. The Dark Tower series is a fantasy series with horror and science fiction notes to it. Pet Sematary is a spooky, fall, perfect Halloween book. Duma Key is a love letter to art and its beauty, but it gets dark. Then you have his novella collections. I don’t think there’s a more perfect story than Rita and the Shawshank Redemption (collected in Different Seasons). I also find it interesting how often I differ with other readers on what is the ‘scariest’ King book. For me, it’s Misery. Annie Wilkes will haunt me forever. “Big Driver” collected in Full Dark, No Stars scared me senseless, but at the same time, I love those stories and would read them again.
Stephen King, in my opinion, can write anything. His books are somehow cozy and comforting while also leaving you on the edge of your seat and thinking in the graveyard depths of the night.
And then, when Fairy Tale came out, I was excited. Here again was a new book by one of the best writers out there. And it didn’t disappoint.
Charlie Reade is an amazing character. He’s seventeen years old when he walks past the Bowditch house- a creepy house up on a hill that no one goes to, and everyone avoids. Mr. Bowditch falls and injures himself, and Charlie is the only person able to take care of his dog, Radar. Charlie falls in love with Radar (a sweet German Shepard) who is well on her way into old age. As Charlie and Mr. Bowditch begin to strike up a friendship, Charlie learns a lot about the man and his past.
Mr. Bowditch has secrets. And some of those secrets have to do with a shed at the back of his property where strange noises and banging can be heard. Eventually, Charlie discovers this is the portal to another world. A world where fairy tales are real but maybe not as happy as we all thought. Charlie has a choice, to enter into this world after Mr. Bowditch dies and save Radar from dying, or to abandon it and leave it behind forever.
Charlie enters the shed and the rest of the story unravels in a beautiful, weird and at times horrifying way that can only come from Stephen King himself.
I adored this story. The relationship between Charlie and Mr. Bowditch was one of sincere friendship and care. Charlie’s love of Radar is pure and so sweet. Dogs are amazing. Dogs are wonderful, and they should be cherished.
I think this is a really special book, and I really loved every minute of it. Stephen King has created fantasy worlds before , but this was different and wonderful at the same time. And for those Constant Readers who can’t get enough of all of the connections he places between books, this one is full of them, too.
I encourage you to enter another world with Charlie and discover what happens next.
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