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. :)