Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury

Posted 9 June, 2008 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 24 Comments


Title: Something Wicked This Way Comes
Author: Ray Bradbury
Date Finished: June 9, 2008 #30
Pages: 215
Rating: 4.5/5

Laura from Reading Reflections recommended this one as a “future” classic for my classics challenge, and since it is relatively short, I thought I’d squeeze it in and see what it is all about. My only other Bradbury book so far is Fahrenheit 451, and while this one is very different, I enjoyed it just as much.

Will and Jim have always lived in close proximity–both in age and as next-door-neighbors and companions. When a carnival unexpectedly blows into town in the middle of the night, right before their birthdays, it becomes clear that the two boys are very different from one another in what they desire and wish for. As the mysteries of Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show begin to unravel, Jim becomes intrigued by what he can become while Will becomes frightened and urges Jim to use his common sense. Will it be too late for Will to help Jim see the truth, or will he make a mistake that will change his life forever?

Right away I was sucked into this little novel. Bradbury uses suspenseful language that drives the plot and kept me turning the pages. He doesn’t give anything away too quickly, so the book retained its air of mystery until the last page. There were even a few times when hubby walked in on me reading the book and gave me quite a startle! In addition to Bradury’s use of mystery, he also provides a vivid description of the events and the surroundings to paint a colorful picture of the novel. From a scene at the beginning of the book as a storm is rolling in:

“But by the time the last stroke of nine shook everyone’s fillings in his teeth, the barbers had yanked off the sheets, powdered the customers, trotted them forth; the druggist’s fount had stopped fizzing like a nest of snakes, the insect neons everywhere had ceased buzzing, and the vast glittering acreage of the dime store with its ten billion metal, glass and paper oddments waiting to be fished over, suddenly blacked out. Shades slithered, doors boomed, keys rattled their bones in locks, people fled with hordes of torn newspaper mice nibbling their heels” (16).

This is the type of book that contains so many themes and motifs that everyone reading it could come away from something different. Because much of the book has to do with enjoying one’s life, the message that I took away was live now–don’t wish to go back, don’t wish to go forward. Be happy and don’t take life too seriously or you will find your soul withered away. Laugh and sing and don’t fear death.

Dolce Bellezza reviewed it
Let me know if you’ve also reviewed it and I’ll add it on. :)

24 Responses to “Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury”

  1. I started this a long time ago and just never finished it… it was too dense at the time for me. But now I’ve got the book sitting on my tbr pile, just waiting.

  2. This is one Bradbury book I haven’t read. It always looked kind of creepy to me. But you make it sound really good!

  3. I want to read this one now too! Great review, Trish. I also wanted to add that I really like the title of the book. I’ll probably go around saying it for the next few days, rolling it off my tongue, driving everyone around me crazy. Some titles strike me like that, what can I say?

  4. I’m so glad you liked it! I have decided that I am going to have to re-read this book soon. Your review made it sound even better than I remember! It will be extremely different from anything else I’ve read this year, and that is a good thing, right??

  5. *Stephanie – Thanks! I hope you read it soon. :)

    *Kim – It’s such a short book–no reason not to pull it off of that TBR pile! It did have me thinking, but it definitely isn’t the densest book I’ve read this year (All the King’s Men comes immediately to mind!)

    *Jeane – I wish I could have put a picture of the back of my cover because it was a little more telling, but for one who gets easily creeped out it was OK in that terms. Others have really liked this one as well–so I hope you read it!

    *Lit Feline – It took me a while to get used to the syntax of the title, but apparently it comes from Shakespeare. It’s a great little book!

    *Laura – Yes, it is different from anything I think either of us have read recently. It was the perfect book to get me in the mood for classics, which I have been shamefully ignoring so far this year. Thanks for the recommendation! :)

  6. Joy

    I’ve been wanting to read this since many bloggers enjoyed it when they read it for a challenge around Halloween (don’t remember the name of it – it may even be 2 years ago???). Anyway, I thought it was perfect for this challenge as a “classic”, not a “future classic”. It was written in 1962 and even Ray has it in his collection as a classic. I’m looking forward to reading it. Glad to see that you enjoyed it so much! :)

  7. This became one of my favorite books of all time when I read it for the first time last year. I like it even more than Fahrenheit 451, though they’re hard to compare as they are so incredibly different. I just had to stop time and time again when I was reading SWTWC to read passages to my husband simply because they were worded so beautifully.

  8. It’s almost like reading poetry, isn’t it? Sometimes he was so abstract, yet the imagery remained so clear. I think this is my favorite book of his, and I’m so glad you liked it, too.

  9. This is one of my all time favorite books. I pick it up every few years and read it again — usually in October. One of my favorite things about this book is what he does with the books and subject sections in the library!

  10. Hey, that reminds me. I have yet to read any Bradbury books. Entirely my loss. Next time I go book shopping I will pick couple of his books. Maybe, this one!

    BTW, come visit my NTBR list.


  11. *Joy – probably the RIP challenge–this would be a great pick for that one! Use it for the classics challenge–I’ve made a note that some of the suggestions are already considered classics by some–it’s really difficult to draw a line with a concept that is pretty abstract.

    *Debi – They are so different–from what I can remember even the writing style and language is different. I’d like to re-read Fahrenheit 451 someday.

    *Bellezza – Yes, I thought his writing was incredibly vivid–just pulls you into the story.

    *Nymeth – :) Me too! I didn’t see a review on your site, maybe I missed it?

    *Terri – Yes, I loved the imagery from the library as well! Perfect for a bibliophile like myself. Thanks for coming by.

    *Gautami – Oh, yes–you need to read something by him. I’ve only read the two but really enjoyed both of them. Very different, though!

  12. I have never heard of this one but it sounds very intriguing. Maybe I’ll try to read it around Halloween like was mentioned in another comment.

  13. Sounds like a good book. I just read Fahrenheit for the first time, and admit I don’t think I quite caught the excitement so many people find in it. Will definitely look to reading more Bradbury though.

  14. *Jeanette – I think this would be a great one for Halloween–and Carl’s RIP challenge, but it is also just a good, lazy weekend book!

    *Bookchronicle – Sometimes when something gets so much hype I somethings wonder what all the fuss is about (Water for Elephants and Secret life of Bees come immediately to mind). This books is very different from Fahrenheit, though in both style and content. It’s short, so I think it is worth the time to read.

  15. Cool! I knew this was a creepy novel, but well I never knew it was this good, even after I read the synopsis at Wikipedia. There is even a song that has this line inside it, the title of course, but I still can’t find it. Great review.

  16. *Harry – It is a very interesting little book, but what really makes this book is the language/writing that Bradbury uses. I don’t know of the song, but the title actually comes from Shakespeare. :)

  17. You didn’t miss it, it’s just that I read it in my pre-blogging days.

    There’s something I wanted to ask you: we talked about using your post on Wicked for the Bookworms Carnival, but you never actually “officially” submitted…and sending me the link through e-mail is just a formality, but I’m putting the Carnival together now and before including it I wanted to make sure you still want me to use it.

  18. I know, but still I think that the line was popularized by the book a bit more to inspire writing that song partiularly, but I may be wrong. Was it MacBeth that had this line? Not sure.

  19. No not a good memory. It was just that this line is so genius and well it handles with witches, so it stuck, but I never had the time to read te play. I know that link and I used it to find the mentioned above song, but well I couldn’t. :(

  20. *Natasha – Have you read Fahrenheit 451? It is a must for any book lover–and if you are like me the books are much better when they aren’t required. :) I’ve also heard that his Dandelion Wine is good.