Top of the elementary school ladder and way smarter than I had any right to be, a teacher recommended that I read Something Wicked This Way Comes by science-fiction master, Ray Bradbury. To be honest, my little Nancy-Drew-and-Hardy-Boy-loving-self scoffed at the idea of a book with a cover like this book possessed.
Possessed is a great word in fact. I took one look at the grotesque creature on this cover and decided this book was NOT for me. It wasn’t until 7th grade that I would pick this book up again—this time after I’d already long since discovered Pern and other SF/F works.
Published in 1962 by Simon & Schuster, this novel is an excellent blend of fantasy and horror. Growing up, my grandmother flooded my little mind with TV episodes of Little House on the Prairie, so I was quite familiar with the ‘traveling salesman’ who was ‘up to no good.’ They were charlatans and crooks. Swindlers and fools. In Bradbury’s novel, there was a sinister twist to the lightning rod salesman who visits the town, turning adults into children.
Honestly, the book gave my child-self nightmares, which is saying something considering that I saw my first horror movie at age seven (Psycho anyone?)! The detailed descriptions and Bradbury’s word choice painted scenes much more vivid than any film studio, and coupled with my own imagination, my mind raced at the horrors in that novel. My thirteen-year-old self thought my eleven-year-old self quite the naive fool. It was then that I promised not to ‘judge a book by its cover alone’ and to give something a chance before writing it off as ‘stupid’ or worse.
While I do pay attention to book covers (cough, cough, I’m looking at you Onio!), I look now to the opening lines or chapter for an indicator of a good book. Through my years as a reader, Ray Bradbury has never let me down. His works are amazing, even if he was afraid to use a computer. 😉
In non-Flashback news, I’ve written 10,000 words on a novel this week while juggling contractors in and out of the house (home-repair hell week). Hopefully next week will bring double the word count.
Want to read other Flashback Fridays? Click here to see the list in this series.