November 2022 Book Review - "Fairy Tale"
Stephen King’s latest novel "Fairy Tale" is about a young man who discovers a portal to another world in dire need of his help.
Charlie Reade is a 17-year-old high school athlete whose life is flipped upside down when he saves a local recluse’s life. Mr. Bowditch lives with his aging German shepherd Radar, and nearly dies one day when he falls off a ladder. Radar captures Charlie’s attention as he’s riding by on his bike, and Charlie is able to contact the paramedics in time to save Mr. Bowditch.
Charlie quickly becomes an important part of Mr. Bowditch’s life. He volunteers to become his caregiver and offers to fix things around his ancient home that has serious Bates Motel mansion vibes.
Charlie never takes credit for saving Mr. Bowditch’s life. He continually gives that credit to the dog Radar, and he slowly begins to grow attached to her. This is why he agrees to help Mr. Bowditch and makes sacrifices in his personal life to be with them.
Mr. Bowditch suddenly dies and leaves Charlie everything he owns, including Radar, a mysterious bucket of gold pellets, and a cassette tape. On the tape, Mr. Bowditch tells the story of his life and information about another world he discovered as a younger man. The story concludes with a plea to Charlie to keep this world safe.
Located in Mr. Bowditch’s backyard is a dilapidated shed with a padlock. Charlie soon discovers that beneath the shed is a portal to a place called Empis. Charlie descends a spiral stone staircase and discovers a world whose inhabitants have been cursed with a plague called “the gray” and a royal family living in exile.
The world has two moons and supposedly contains a magic sundial that can restore youth that Mr. Bowditch claims to have used. Charlie enters the world motivated to try to prolong Radar’s life, and thus begins an adventure that only Stephen King could tell.
With nods to "Jack and the Beanstalk," "Rumpelstiltskin," and Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” King provides his “constant readers” with a dark Grimm-like fairy tale about a young man and his dog who become unlikely heroes.
This book will appeal to fans of fantasy and horror, and it’s a good introduction to King, one of our master storytellers.
"Fairy Tale" can be found in our local libraries. For KPCW this is Dan Compton with the Summit County Library.