"First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. Not that all months aren't rare. But there be bad and good, as the pirates say."
So begins this 1962 offering from author Ray Bradbury. I really wanted to post about this book in October because it is the quintessential October book, but publishing my recap of Something Wicked This Way Comes on Black Friday seemed like the next best option. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Well, anyway, Something Wicked This Way Comes is about 13-almost-14 year old best friends and neighbors Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway. When a traveling carnival comes suddenly and mysteriously into town, the boys find themselves inside a nightmare come to life, and in the process must face their personal demons, hang tight to their friendship, and help one another against the outside forces which threaten to transmogrify their lives forever. (How do you like that word "transmogrify"? I just discovered it. It's basically a creepy way of saying change.)
And I loved it.
It was just creepy enough for me without giving me nightmares. The combination of fantasy and horror was spellbinding. The plot was absorbing. Bradbury's prose was mesmerizing. And the exchange between Will and his dad in chapter 28 immediately became one of my all time favorite literary scenes. I love a good versus evil story and that's just what this is. The tension between Will's contentment with childhood and Jim's desire to grow up tugged at my heart, and my favorite part of the whole story was the emotional arc that Will's dad undergoes.
Something Wicked This Way Comes is the first book I've read by Ray Bradbury, but I also have Dandelion Wine and Fahrenheit 451 waiting on my shelves. Bradbury is one of the most celebrated 20th and 21st century American authors, but because he's known for being a sci-fi/horror/fantasy writer, I've never been particularly eager to read him even while keeping his books on my LIFE LIST for years. After finally reading Something Wicked This Way Comes however, I'm ready for more.
I can't recommend this book enough, especially if, like me, you're always on the hunt for a spooky, atmospheric read that won't keep you awake at night. This is for sure a book I'll come back to but for the love of everything, only in October. This book was absolutely meant to be experienced in October and if you plan to read it, don't you dare pick it up in any other month!
What are some of your favorite spooky reads?