Audiobook Review - Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar

Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar
Narrated by Maggie Siff
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Date Read: September 2, 2017
Length:  2 hours 42 minutes
Source: Library via Overdrive

Stephen King teams up with long-time friend and award-winning author Richard Chizmar for the first time in this original, chilling novella that revisits the town of Castle Rock—paired on audio with King’s Edgar Award–nominated story “The Music Room.”

There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974, twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong—if time-rusted—iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.

Then one day when Gwendy gets to the top of Castle View, after catching her breath and hearing the shouts of kids on the playground below, a stranger calls to her. There on a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small, neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat…

The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told—until now.
My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this little story!  This was one of those books that once you started you wanted to keep listening.  This book isn't very long so it really is no surprise that I was able to listen to it in a single day but I started this one on a Saturday and I rarely listen to audiobooks during the weekends.  I just couldn't get enough of this story.

The story opens with Gwendy exercising on the stairs.  She meets a stranger who gives her a magic box.  This box can do a lot of things and she takes the responsibility that comes with it very seriously.  She has a lot of questions about the box and no real way of finding any answers.  She's doesn't even know anything about the man that gave it to her.

I think Gwendy showed more restraint that I would have at such a young age.  Who am I kidding?  I don't think I would have a lot of restraint now either.  I wanted her to push all of the buttons but was a little scared and wanted to to leave it alone all at the same time.  If anyone can hook me up with the magic chocolate, please let me know because I am pretty sure that I could use some of that in my life.

The story took some unexpected turns and held my interest the entire time.  There were a few moments that broke my heart just a little bit.  I thought the whole concept of the story was really imaginative and well developed.  I liked how this story kept me thinking about how I would have handled the situation if I were in Gwendy's place.

The narration was very well done.  I think that Maggie Siff did a fantastic job of bringing Gwendy to life.  She was able to bring a lot of emotion into the story and expertly handled everything from a child's wonder to a teenager's heartbreak.  Her voice was very pleasant to listen to and her delivery was performed at a very nice pace.

I would recommend this book to others.   The audiobook that I listened to also included a very short story which was very enjoyable even though it only lasted a few minutes.  The conversation between the authors was also quite entertaining.  I do hope to read more from both of these authors in the future.

About the Authors

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Bill Hodges Trilogy—Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel), Finders Keepers, and End of Watch—and the story collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. His epic series, The Dark Tower, is the basis for a major motion picture starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. It is also now a major motion picture starring Bill SkarsgĂ„rd. King is the recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Richard Chizmar is the founder/publisher of Cemetery Dance magazine and the Cemetery Dance Publications book imprint. He has edited more than thirty anthologies and his fiction has appeared in dozens of publications, including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. He has won two World Fantasy awards, four International Horror Guild awards, and the HWA’s Board of Trustee’s award.


  1. I see Stephen King's name and automatically think horror, but you don't mention being scared. I am falling in love with extras, like the conversation you mention. I find those parts really eye-opening.

    1. I really wouldn't call this horror. I did enjoy all of the extras in this short little book.

  2. did you say magic chocolate?! I am sold!

  3. I so want to read this book. Big Stephen King fan.

  4. I'm glad you liked this one and yes, I need some of that chocolate too. I guess my only complaint was that I wanted this book to be even longer. I actually like King's long books and I felt there could have been more story fleshed out. Great ending though.

    1. I can see where this could have been a much longer story but I liked the way I was able to fit it in on a single day too.

  5. I hadn't heard of this before, but I'm intrigued! A magic box... I don't know if I could restrain myself either. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

    1. It was a really great story and the narration was wonderful.

  6. Wow, this does sound really good. A magical box sounds all mysterious, so now I am super curious. Great review.


Post a Comment