Something Wicked This Way Comes

Like Stephen King, but not.

Bradbury’s writing is way better, almost a stream of consciousness through the eyes of two boys thirteen years old in the moment that Autumn arrives on the same night as the calliope.

The calliope which plays Chopin’s Funeral March backwards in some unrecognizable theme as the calliope itself rotates the opposite way and Mr. Cooger who’s riding it becomes, somehow, a ten year old boy himself. Miss Foley calls him her nephew, but we recognize his eyes as belonging to another.

The witch who leaves a silver streak tacky as an evil-smelling glue over one of the boys’ houses as she glides by in her helium balloon with its elephantine shadow. The boy gets his bow and arrow and rents a smile in the balloon’s silk until the air escapes, and we see it next in a forty foot long coffin traversing the street as in a parade.

Cooger, Mr. Dark (the Illustrated Man), the Witch, the Dwarf, the Lightning-Rod Salesman all freaks in a show who take nothing for something luring their victims who fear death with the promise of youth. The promise of youth which turns to horror when one becomes something he’s not anymore.

“Good to evil seems evil,” says the boy’s father, and this is how evil turns tail and flees, the freaks running away leaving a calliope which could take one boy’s best friend from him if the father would let it. But, the smiles he carved in a wax bullet defeat the Witch…his laughter in the Mirror Maze disintegrates the mirror…his dancing a jig while singing a song and playing the harmonica resurrect a young boy because evil has only the power we give it.

The most wonderful kind of book Something Evil This Way Comes tells a story with images like a film and ends with a lesson in Truth.

It’s the best piece of macabre fiction I’ve ever read.

24 thoughts on “Something Wicked This Way Comes

  1. Oh, motherpie, I am a distracted teacher. It seems I can only concentrate on one thing at a time: reading OR teaching. So, I haven't been putting time into my other onw, but I will. I'll also had the link ( for asking all the same.Everyone else, I do not think you'll be disappointed in picking up this novel. I am now a huge Bradbury fan, whereas I found him boring when I was in High School. My neighbor just gave me her copy of The Halloween Tree which I can't wait to start after I finish A Thousand Splendid Suns.


  2. Based on your review, I picked this book up the other day, along with Fahrenheit 451. In the language arts text I use, there is a short story by Bradbury in it and it's one of my favorites, All Summer in a Day. You convinced me to actually go out and pick up a couple of his books!Of course, they have to wait because I'm reading The Blind Assassin by Atwood at the moment.


  3. ageekgirl, I like your phrase "the lyricism of Bradbury's work"; that is such an apt description, and probably why I didn't like it when I was younger.Ms-Teacher, I've never read Fahrenheit 451, but my husband loves that movie. I'm glad you went to find a few copies of his books. I've read The Blind Assassin, but it's not one of my favorite Atwood novels. I'm looking forward to what you think about it.


  4. I loved this book too — definitely creepy, as was the movie. Bradbury's writing always takes me to a happy place (even if it's creepy, too). May I suggest The Halloween Tree for a good Halloween read? I've been thinking of rereading that one (and wondering if my kids are old enough for it yet). When I was a kid my library had a wonderfully illustrated version, but the one that I see these days isn't anything to compare with that old one, sigh.


  5. Darla, my friend gave me her copy of The Halloween Tree to borrow. I can't wait to read it! I'll have to look at the copyright date, and after I read it I'll post a picture of it. It looks beautiful so far. Thanks for the recommendation.


  6. Ok, you've got me intrigued, and now will add some Ray Bradbury to my pile o' books next to my bed. I got the chance to see him give a talk at Augustana College here in Rock Island many years ago. I was so impressed with him. PS. At first I thought from your title that you had gone to see Wicked, which as you know, I love.


  7. i had never read this book, but several coworkers told me how much their students enjoyed reading SWTWC so I selected it for my class' first novel – OH MY GOSH! they hate it!i am not kidding, we've been reading it for a week and they are begging me for a new novel. they'd rather start all over and work double-time on a new book than have to finish this one.


  8. Anonymous, I hated Bradbury when I was in High School myself. We had to read Dandelion Wine as sophomores, and I was like, "Shoot me now." Bradbury's writing is so 'poetic', vague, stream-of-consciousness that they may be having a hard time understanding it. Is it possible to show the film with Jason Robards first? Or, listen to the novel on tape? Or, have YOU read it aloud, pausing to discuss certain unclear parts? Those things might help them grasp what he's saying. I say, if they don't like it, abandon ship. There'll come a time later when they'll appreciate him. One hopes. 🙂


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