Monday, August 16, 2010

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (4 stars of 5)

I just finished Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.  I liked the story but I found the writing difficult to understand at times.  I would rate this 4 stars out of 5.

Something Wicked This Way Comes is about two thirteen year old boys, Jim and Will, who discover a secret about a carnival that comes to town.  The Carnival, run by Mr. Cooger and Mr. Dark (the Illustrated Man), is not what it seems to be.  Jim and Will need to stop Mr. Dark from carrying out his plans concerning the people in this small town.  But Mr. Dark is also after the boys because he knows that they, the boys, know the carnival's secret.

I did not like Bradbury's emotive, poetic writing in this book.  I know, I know.  Bradbury is a genius.  But I, for me, I found his writing in this book confusing.  I got to the end of some chapters and I had no idea what had just happened in the story.  I know that a lot of people like Bradbury's style of writing in this book but I was not one of them.  It wasn't all bad for me.  There were several parts where Bradbury sustained great suspense and I thoroughly enjoyed these parts.  But all in all, I had to read this book very slowly (which affected the pace of the story for me) because I found myself confused.

The story is classic.  Young boys.  Evil Carnival.  Evil Mastermind covered in tattoos.  Help in places unlooked.  I liked the story very much (even though parts of it were a little campy).

Mr. Dark, the illustrated man was particularly creepy.  I'm guessing that this character was the inspiration for a lot of future storytellers, such as Steven King or Clive Barker.  I was especially creeped out when Mr. Dark showed his palms and on his palms were tattoos of the boys, one in each hand.

In a literary sense, this book was brilliant.  The themes of 'bad things happening to good people' and 'how should a person deal with suffering and unhappiness?' and 'are people really happy when they get what they want?' were treated very well.  It comes as no surprise to me that this book is studied by young people in high schools and some colleges.

Overall, I give this 4 out of 5 stars.  Minus one star because, for me, I found his poetic prose confusing.  (sorry, mr. bradbury...)

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