Something Wicked This Way Comes

Review  swtwc Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, Avon Books 1998 (orig pub’d 1962), 293 pages

“Suddenly he seemed aware of house windows or the cold sky staring at his neck.  He turned slowly, sniffing the air.   Wind rattled the empty trees.  Sunlight, breaking though a small rift in the clouds, minted a last few oak leaves all gold.  But the sun vanished, the coins were spent, the air blew gray; the salesman shook himself from the spell.”


Let’s all mouth that word once more, ready?   WOW.   wow.

Do you love language?   If you love the pop-crisp-zap! of creepy, slimy, dreary bleary SCAREdy-cat language in all its finery,

You’ll LOVE this book.

MOTIVATION for READING: RIP IV Challenge. [Review Site here.]  It’s Autumn.   I attempted this book last year and Halloween interrupted.   Once that scary date had passed, I just could NOT pick this book up and finish it!    I am glad I tried again and made it to the last page.

WHAT it’s ABOUT:   Two boys of an age which lifelong-meant-to-be-forever friendship is truly meant to be FOREVER are suddenly exposed to serious sinister DANGER and are thrust into considering how the previously vague understanding of evil versus good just might apply to EVERYTHING that makes life precious.

the NOW,


the meaning of LOVE and loyalty and good versus bad (oh, I already mentioned that.)

I found an earlier attempt at a review where I wrote this:  (I like it much better.) Two boys encounter a scary carnival come to town and must save themselves from unspeakable horrors; luckily, Dad is there to help.

WHAT’s GOOD:  The language of this colorful novel is…. colorful?   lively?   DEATHLY?  full of dread.   full of HOPE?   COLORS!   everywhere on every page, colors.

It’s an experience.

You will love this if you love language and delightful suspense of growing up.   The words and rhythm of the text alone are cotton candy and the darkest DARK chocolate.

Enjoy!   this book is likely PERFECT for this time of year…

“Tell you your husbands.  Tell you your wives.   Tell you your fortunes.  Tell you your lives.   See me, I know.   See me at the show.   Tell you the color of his eyes.   Tell you the color of his goal.   Tell you the color of her soul.   Come now, don’t go.   See me, see me at the show.

Children appalled, children impressed, parents delighted, parents in high good humor and still the Gypsy from the dusts of living sang.  Time walked in her murmuring.  She made and broke microscopic webs between her fingers wherewith to feel soot fly up, breath fly out.  She touched the wings of flies, the souls of invisible bacteria, all specks, mites and mica-snowings of sunlight filtrated with motion and much more hidden emotion.”

* Truly, I LOVED that this book is dedicated to Gene Kelly.   [Explained in the Afterword.]  And before you ask me what my rating is, please don’t.    As much as I loved the words that Mr. Bradbury strung together to tell this story, I did struggle through it and this struggle and effort is why I’m not giving it five pie slices.     I don’t think I’m scared exactly to criticize it or downrate it for any reason  – it’s most certainly a beloved book here in bookblogdom, I just can’t articulate why this is not a top rated book for me.   My unaccountable ambivalence is counter-balanced with my delight for the imagery Bradbury creates with his WORDS.   So let’s throw away the rating for this and enjoy it as a fabulous piece of Americana, shall we?


Has anyone seen the movie starring Jason Robards?    Has anyone seen the trailer to the upcoming movie Cirque du Freak starring John C. Reilly?    I immediately wondered if it was related to this but upon further research, I don’t think it is.   But it certainly reminded me of Something Wicked…

21 thoughts on “Something Wicked This Way Comes

  1. I love Bradbury, this one not least. Have you ever heard of the Broadway musical The Fantasticks? It sounds like you’re primed for the movie version of The Fantasticks about now–it features an unusual carnival…

  2. @Jeanne, I have not heard of The Fantasticks. I’ll look for it.

    @Charley, I have not read his short stories but I am willing to try more Bradbury. He really is an amazing writer.

  3. Ray Bradbury does write very creeeeeepy stories. I know what you mean, though – his writing is stunning, but for me there’s often something missing in his stories. I’ll have to read this and see if I can put my finger on it.

  4. Oh you just made my day! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book!!!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Ray Bradbury’s writing!!!! In fact, I think I once even claimed on my blog that I wanted to grow up to be Ray Bradbury. He just entrances me with his writing! Care, I don’t know how you do it, but you have a way of making me leave here in the throngs of giddyness. 😀

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