Something Wicked Read-Along Update – Part One

Something Wicked

Our read along for Something Wicked This Way Comes is in full swing! By today, 10/10, we should be wrapping-up part one, Chapters 1-24. What do you think so far? Here are my thoughts and then I have some questions for you to ponder:

  • Super quick read. The first 24 chapters flew by.
  • Very atmospheric. Think dark clouds, wind, dry leaves and the smell of ozone.
  • Odd narration. The language is a little stilted. Almost like a regional thing but not quite. Didn’t take long to get used to though.
  • Two main characters, boys, Will and Jim. Too much alike. Hard to determine who is talking sometimes.
  • CRAZY happenings involving a carousel and a weird little ‘nephew’ of one of the neighbors.
  • Right now, I am totally sucked into the story which promises to be very strange from what I’ve read so far.

Now, a couple of questions for you from Shmoop.com:

  1. We have a third-person narrator in this novel, but how much of this narration is influenced by Will and Jim’s way of looking at the world? That is, how “close” is the narrator to our main characters?
  2. What do you think is the target audience (age group) of Something Wicked This Way Comes? How might its meaning change for readers of different age groups?

Everyone on Twitter (#EnterTheRingmaster) has mentioned the narration. It’s a little odd. One blogger said the flow was a little difficult to pick up, but once she got over the hump, she was totally into the story. For me, the third-person narration is not an issue but the language, prose, whatever you want to call it, was a little disjointed at first. It did kind of add to the story though because it felt to me as if I was listening to someone from another part of the country. How close is the narrator to the boys? I’d say pretty close, almost too close because I am having a hard time keeping the two boys separate in my mind.

The target audience? Good question. Although the main characters are young boys, I’m not sure that’s the intended audience. There is something going on with Will and his father, something that maybe only an adult can appreciate. There is the whole old versus young thing too. I’m not sure a young person can appreciate youth when they have it. Do you?

My feeling right now is that the fun is just beginning. Part one dealt with the arrival of the dark carnival and part two is titled Pursuits.

If you want to still join us, it’s not too late. It took me one sitting to read through chapters 1-24. The biggest challenge will be finding a copy.

Next up on the schedule?

  • Finish Section 2 (Chapters 25-44) by Friday, October 24th
  • Finish Section 3 (Chapters 45-54) by Friday, October 31st

If you wrote-up a post, just add the link in comments or feel free to comment away here or on Twitter using #EnterTheRingmaster as the hashtag.

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13 thoughts on “Something Wicked Read-Along Update – Part One”

  1. I really agree that the narrator is too close to the boys and they are tough to discern when speaking. I think I have a handle on them now. But I do think that the fun is just beginning now that the carnival has arrived. There also seems to be a commentary here on the lack of credence adults give to kids — like when they are trying to explain about the man who was dying and the police are convinced that the boys just were scared….and are seemingly fooled by the “act.”

    1. Lack of credence or Bradbury is poking fun at adults? Since we, the readers, are in the know, I tend to think Bradbury was poking fun at the adults. Making them seem naive and gullible.

      I still do not have a handle on the boys. Will or Jim at this point, could be one kid to me.

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        1. Some have said this book is the dark version of Dandelion Wine. I don’t know. I read that one a long time ago but I had a weird feeling about it. It wasn’t all sunshine and flowers.

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  2. I have some reservations at this point. First, you are right, you can’t discern between the two boys (and on audio, the narrator USES THE SAME VOICE FOR BOTH! Ack!). I’m also not sure about this third person POV. It doesn’t bother me so much but it is hard to tell who it is and how they are influenced by anyone. Seems like it would have worked better if it were like “Stand By Me” where it was an adult Will or Jim looking back and telling the story. It definitely is more of a coming-of-age story, with the immaturity of Will and Jim feeling totally YA but with an adult slant that lingers on definitions of old and young, good and bad. It is very confusing to me. And the prose also bothers me. Reminds me of that stilted, awkward way they used to talk in the old movies. I’m from the Midwest, and we never talked like that.

    1. I am glad you mentioned the Midwest thing because I thought that maybe it was a Midwest thing, that stilted language. Plus, I am only just now starting part two but I guess the narrator could be an older Will or Jim. I don’t know at this point.

      I am either getting used to the language or it’s not as heavy in the second part because I seem to not be noticing it at all.

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  3. I’m behind (only to chapter 13), but see the boys almost as a contrast to each other. Will is fair, pale, and a little more timid, while Jim seems more colorful… bright hair (red?) and more of a risk taker. Will lives with both parents, although his father is portrayed as fair old. Jim lives with only his mother… not sure what happened to father/siblings.
    The prose is a little weird and I’m having trouble settling in to the story. My plan is to get the audio today and catch up. We’ll see…

    1. Your assessment of the boys is correct. I wrote their descriptions down but as I am reading, I keep having to refer to my note. If I pay attention, I can keep them apart but it takes me out of the story. I think by the end of part one you will be settled into the story.

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    2. I think that’s a great way to discern the boys…the colorful/adventurous one versus the pale more timid one. I wonder if Will’s father is not really older but has been through a transformation

      1. I thought that too about Will’s dad. He seems odd. Not quite right in the head. Sandy said he is supposed to be 55 but he plays himself off as ancient. I wonder about everyone in the town. They all seem weird.

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        1. Now that I’ve read a few more chapters and have encountered the creepy calliope, I’ll keep the transformation theory under consideration. I remember reading that Will’s dad was in in his 50s, but he sure seems a lot older!

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