Discussion(SPOILERS) -after you have read the book

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Leaf

New Member
Jun 20, 2017
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I loved the story. I had one small problem with it, just on the informational side. When Gwendy goes to the coin show to sell the 2 coins, the dealer asks her if she would like any of the Utah state quarters. Those were not issued until 2007. Not a big deal, and I'm sure no one else cares.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
87,651
358,754
59
Cambridge, Ohio
I loved the story. I had one small problem with it, just on the informational side. When Gwendy goes to the coin show to sell the 2 coins, the dealer asks her if she would like any of the Utah state quarters. Those were not issued until 2007. Not a big deal, and I'm sure no one else cares.
....Hi Leaf, and you're right-but it's not a matter of not caring-just that some inaccuracies are expected....pobody is nerfect......
 

Hall Monitor

All bars serve the Beam.
Nov 7, 2013
187
1,013
New Jersey
Ok help me out here, constant readers.

Didn't Richard Farris aka the Man In Black act out of character? He was awfully benevolent and went out of his way to assuage Gwendy's guilt. Wouldn't he want her to use the box? Wouldn't he want bad things to happen? I could understand it if he wanted Gwendy not to use the box because it stored up evil and he could use it for his own purposes but that is never explored or hinted in the story anywhere.

I enjoyed the story but that aspect of it, leaves me puzzled. Or I did miss something?

HELP!
IMHO, that particular character is tough to box in <pun intended> to any particular motivation. The potential for mischief is still there, and that is definitely a constant for him, but think of
his involvement with Carol Gerber in Hearts in Atlantis. He gives her the potential to do evil, but when she doesn't ultimately give in, there are no repercussions for her, he just lets her live out her life and moves on.

Also, am I the only one who expected
the color of the buttons to equate to the colors of Maerlyn's rainbows? I expected Black 13 when I read about the black button.
 

kingricefan

All-being, keeper of Space, Time & Dimension.
Jul 11, 2006
30,011
127,446
Spokane, WA
It gives me a large amount of pride when I walk into my local Barnes & Nobles and see copies of Gwendy's for sale on the front table. No, I don't work for CD but I have been a customer for over 20 years and I like to think that I helped put them there. I think this may be the first time that a Cemetery Dance book has been prominently displayed in a 'real' book store. ;-D
 

Mark G

New Member
Jul 28, 2017
1
4
58
I don't know if anyone else noticed this, but after Curiosity Day Gwendy is talking about buttons with her teacher and Gwendy mentions that some people do have buttons that can destroy things and names Nixon as one of them. Gwendy's first meeting with Ferris is on 8/22/1974 - Nixon had been out of office for two weeks before Gwendy even had the box. Ford was in office when Gwendy's discussion with her teacher took place. Nixon was moping around San Clemente at that time and was no where near a red button.
 

Tiny

RECEIVED:Annoying Questions award
Nov 25, 2009
1,869
2,864
53
Wilmington DE, strange little place.
Flagg is (can be) very different from one multi-verse to another, it might be that the bad guy from
'needful things' was flagg from a distant universe -(different from what were used to), or he might have been an all together different
entity , no one is really sure, Not Bev ... and maybe not King himself
(dear Mr Bev , please confirm this idea ...or tell me im all wrong, please)
 

Tanith

Well-Known Member
Apr 29, 2009
81
311
53
Ok help me out here, constant readers.

Didn't Richard Farris aka the Man In Black act out of character? He was awfully benevolent and went out of his way to assuage Gwendy's guilt. Wouldn't he want her to use the box? Wouldn't he want bad things to happen? I could understand it if he wanted Gwendy not to use the box because it stored up evil and he could use it for his own purposes but that is never explored or hinted in the story anywhere.

I enjoyed the story but that aspect of it, leaves me puzzled. Or I did miss something?

HELP!

That's what struck me as the most surprising aspect of the tale. Gwendy gets a magic box from a guy with the initials "RF". We're shown that this box can make stuff happen, and

when Gwendy learns of the events in Guyana and blames her tampering with the box, I assumed that we were looking at a runup to the events of The Stand and sooner or later that black button was gonna get pushed. I was absolutely convinced this was the direction the story was moving in.

So sai King and his friend Mr. Chizmar fooled me. But I still enjoyed the ride, if only because it brought me back to my own journey through youth. And for the first time, "RF" appears in quite a different light.

:)
 

doowopgirl

very avid fan
Aug 7, 2009
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dublin ireland
I had to wait a while before I got this, so that's why I'm only now commenting. I have to say it's not a favorite for me. I liked the way it began, I loved the way it stayed at the back of her mind all the time. But I felt thre ending was curiously flat. I felt a sense of doom, but didn't get what I was expecting. Losing her friend and her boyfriend were bad, but not the total disaster I was looking for. May be a future re read will change my mind.
 

Kurben

The Fool on the Hill
Apr 12, 2014
9,682
65,192
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sweden
I had to wait a while before I got this, so that's why I'm only now commenting. I have to say it's not a favorite for me. I liked the way it began, I loved the way it stayed at the back of her mind all the time. But I felt thre ending was curiously flat. I felt a sense of doom, but didn't get what I was expecting. Losing her friend and her boyfriend were bad, but not the total disaster I was looking for. May be a future re read will change my mind.
Thats interesting! I never felt or thought it would end in a total disaster so was never disappointed that way. To me it had a lot to do with responsibility for your actions. You know like our favorite Spiderman saying: With great powers comes great responsibility. And i also got the feeling Gwendy was picked, perhaps because the RF character felt she had it in her. And i'm also in the camp that don't believe the RF character was supposed to be an incarnation of Randall Flagg. They were, to me at least, too different in character. What was it that made you think it would end in a total disaster? If you don't mind we asking of course. I know, i am a curious person......
 

doowopgirl

very avid fan
Aug 7, 2009
6,946
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dublin ireland
Thats interesting! I never felt or thought it would end in a total disaster so was never disappointed that way. To me it had a lot to do with responsibility for your actions. You know like our favorite Spiderman saying: With great powers comes great responsibility. And i also got the feeling Gwendy was picked, perhaps because the RF character felt she had it in her. And i'm also in the camp that don't believe the RF character was supposed to be an incarnation of Randall Flagg. They were, to me at least, too different in character. What was it that made you think it would end in a total disaster? If you don't mind we asking of course. I know, i am a curious person......
I don't mind you asking at all. It just felt that something BIG was coming. I think I did assume the RF initials were one and the same, so maybe that's why I was expecting disaster. They way the box kept at the back of her mind all the time. Maybe it was just me looking for something. I like your idea about taking responsability for your actions. She was just SO good. Never put a foot wrong. I think at some point I will re read with these ideas in mind. Thanks for asking.
 

Neil W

Well-Known Member
May 27, 2008
1,203
2,592
Isle of Wight UK
I avoided getting this novella when it was first published - at thirteen quid for a long short story I thought it was overpriced. Having come down to £6, I pulled the trigger.

I felt sure I knew what it was about - a middle aged woman who has a box full of buttons, right? Wrong. The central character is a chubby 12-year old girl, trying hard to lose weight following hurtful comments at school, when she encounters a gentleman called Richard Farris. Regular King readers will know that men with the initials RF are bad news. Farris gives Gwendy a box equipped with 8 buttons and 2 levers, with vague instructions about what the buttons do: not good things. The levers are simpler - one dispenses small chocolate animals which essentially suppress the appetite for things which put on weight (oh for a supply of those!), the other dispenses mint condition 1821 silver dollars. Gwendy makes her way through the next 20 years using the levers constantly to start off with then far less so, and not using the buttons at all, except...

This is a whimsical little story, over and done in a couple of hours reading. Gwendy is a likeable protagonist, and the button boxes mysteries always lie ahead of where the story is at any particular moment.

King's stories in recent years have been rather dark-hearted: this one is, on the whole, fairly light and positive except for two very dark moments. I liked this one a lot.
 

Gerald

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2011
2,201
7,168
The Netherlands
This is pretty much how I felt about it too:

Nothing Happens in GWENDY&#8217;S BUTTON BOX &#8211; Dark Moon Digest

It's not a bad read, but it feels like it was about so little in the end.
I think the hat comes from the character of Mr. Steward (from the story this was obviously based on, 'Button, Button' by Richard Matheson) who is said to wear a hat. Actually it was filmed twice, both for the Twilight Zone '80s run, and later as a feature film, The Box with Cameron Diaz by Richard 'Donnie Darko' Kelly.

To Matheson's dismay they changed the ending for the Twilight Zone episode which he had adapted himself, so he used his standard pseudonym of Logan Swanson for that. Actually I kind of like both the original and the alternative Twilight Zone ending.

The main difference between the two stories, is that the Matheson story is all about 'would you push the button if you didn't know the person who got killed and you got a large sum of money for it'. Gwendy already gets rewarded by the chocolates and coins, so it's only curiosity that tempts her to use the buttons, which makes the idea weaker overall.

And as for the R.F. initials: there was nothing really evil about the Richard Farris character, so I'd say that's a coincidence.
 
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OKKingFan

Well-Known Member
Jun 15, 2013
138
371
Oklahoma
I think the same thing several of you have said, it needed a little more to it to become a really good story.
One thing I kept noticing is several things that didn't quite jibe with the time it was set, making me think this is a Dark Tower related story.
If it's not, then some things are just flat wrong, like collecting commemorative state quarters, which weren't issued for another 20 years.
I thought the ending could have been a lot better as well, it sort of just fizzled out.
 

Dana Jean

Dirty Pirate Hooker, The Return
Moderator
Apr 11, 2006
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It was a pleasant story that could have stood some cutting. I think it would have felt more immediate had it been a short story rather than a novella. Without fleshed out characters, it was a literary conceit dragged out slightly too long.
The hugger mugger with the green buttons was unneccessary--only the red and black mattered.[/spoiler ]

Still, when Mr. King's 'voice! Came to the forefront, with all his familiar phrasing and pacing, it did make me smile :) And it's a book that I can hand to my kid, so that's worth the price of admission.
oh my gosh, so weird. I worded my final thoughts exactly the same way! I felt it was totally worth the price of admission!
 

Dana Jean

Dirty Pirate Hooker, The Return
Moderator
Apr 11, 2006
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The High Seas
...so, here's my take on the collaborative effort.....it was a nice, quick read and nothing more....seriously, nothing more......other than a few "name drops" or tangential references there was absolutely zip that made this the heralded "return to Castel Rock".....take out Dark Score Lake, Sherriff Bannerman etc, this could have been "Anywhere USA", so that was a let down-also, the Easter Egg of the coin date adding up to 19, that trope is wearing a bit thin.....I enjoyed the concept of the box, though it was never fleshed out-and for that matter, neither was this incarnation of RF....more benevolent than outright evil.....interesting , but toothless......I enjoyed the story, but to use my own frame of reference, it was like having one piping hot chocolate chip cookie, while being denied the pleasure of the other two or three on your plate.....[\spoiler]
I'm with you on the Easter eggs. At one time it was fun but it is getting to the point that every story is easter egging the hell out of us. Across numerous author's work. Easter egg Harriet the Spy into one of your stories, Mr. King, and I will be impressed as hell!;;D

But in all fairness, I didn't catch the R.F. thing nor the coin thing. I don't want to be looking for that, it takes a person out of the story.