Give a Classic a Try this Autumn: Read ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’


Copyright Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Halloween may be over, but it’s still fall. That means it’s time for Halloween-themed books. Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes is a perfect example of spooky fall fun. The story is about two thirteen year old boys, Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade. Despite being best friends, Will and Jim have contrasting personalities. Will is quiet and thoughtful, while Jim is bold and brash. Another important difference is that Will is content being the age he is, while Jim is in a rush to grow up.

Several days before Halloween, a strange carnival arrives in Will and Jim’s small hometown. At the carnival, their teacher’s nephew goes missing. She asks Will and Jim to help her find her nephew, but they are unable to find him. That night, Jim and Will sneak out to the carnival grounds. They see one of the two men who run the carnival ride the carousel. As he rides the carousel, he gets younger. Will and Jim realize the carousel is magical: Riding it forwards makes you get older, while riding it backwards makes you get younger. Now that he has been turned into a child, the carnival owner impersonates the missing boy. Jim and Will’s teacher believes it really is her nephew, leaving Will and Jim the only people who know what really happened. Later, the carnival owners realize that Will and Jim know something supernatural is going on. The carnival owners sends monsters after Will and Jim. The boys manage to escape, but just barely. Confused about the mysterious events and worried that the carnival is up to no good, they ask Will’s father, Mr. Halloway, for help. Mr. Halloway is wise and understanding, so he agrees to help them. As for what happens next… Well, you’ll just have to read it yourself.

One of the interesting things about Something Wicked This Way Comes is how unique the villains are. They do not seek to kill. Instead, they want to destroy people’s spirits. Not only that, but once they have destroying a person’s emotional state, but they then transform that person into a freak for their carnival. I’ve never encountered any villains quite like them before. These unusual villains add to the air of mystery, because you don’t know what they’re going to do next. You want to keep reading, so that you can find out what they’re planning and how the heroes will try to stop them.

Another thing that stands out about this book is how well written the main characters are. Will and Jim both seem real, like friends you might have. Their differing personalities also add depth to the novel, because they play off each other. Will’s quietness and Jim’s goodness provide two different ways of approaching the world, and the book shows that both have value, but both also have dangers. My favorite character was Will’s father, Mr, Halloway. Unlike many of the dads you see in fiction, who are bumbling and useless, Mr, Halloway is wise, intelligent, and sympathetic. He reminds me of Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars and Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings.

Bradbury does a wonderful job of creating a Halloween-y atmosphere. He perfectly describes both the spookiness and the fun of the holiday. Bradbury excellently captures everything about fall, from the weather to the mood.

Something Wicked This Way Comes is an excellent book not only for fall, but for any time of the year.