This post contains affiliate links.  One of my goals this year is to read ten King books.  While perusing the library shelves, I found Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar, so I decided to choose that as one of my ten books.  While I enjoyed the book and read it quickly, something was lacking.

Cover of Gwendy's Button Box with a man in black near a set of stairs

About Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

The book is set in 1974 in Castle Rock, Maine.  Gwendy is about to go into middle school, and she’s at a set of stairs that she climbs every day to try to lose weight.  One day, she meets a man who talks to her and later gives her a button box.  He shows her that she can push a lever and get a chocolate from it daily.  She can pull another level and get a pristine coin.  On the top, there are several buttons that can cause catastrophic damage to the world.

Gwendy takes the box home and enjoys the chocolates daily.  In doing so, she notices her life begins to change.  She loses weight and becomes more athletic, smarter, and prettier.

However, she feels the urge to try one of the buttons on the top, just to see what happens.  When she finally does push one of them, she is horrified by the results.

My Thoughts on the Book

This is a novella, so it’s short.  I read the book in one sitting.  While it was a good story, and I wanted to read it to continue seeing what would happen in Gwendy’s life, I felt the story lacked something.

At the end of the book, the man who gave Gwendy the button box comes to retrieve it.  He praises Gwendy because she was a good steward of the box and didn’t use it for evil.

Ah ha.  That’s what was missing for me.

This box has had several owners.  Rather than having a novella focused on Gwendy, I would have preferred a longer novel showing this button box changing hands.  Then the reader could see how other people used the box–for good or evil–and how it changed their lives.

I give Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar 3.5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.

Read More

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