An Epic Tale of a Boy, A Dog, and A World of Magic
Charlie Reade is about to step on a path both wondrous and dark. At seventeen, he has already gone through hell and back. His mother was killed in a tragic accident on “that goddamned bridge,” and, as a result, his dad succumbed to alcoholism. Just when Charlie thinks things are at their worst and they might lose their home (Dad has already lost his job) and join the ranks of the homeless, in desperation, the boy gets on his knees, prays, and makes a deal with God: “If you do that for me, whoever you are, I’ll do something for you … You just show me what you want and I’ll do it. I swear.”
Not long after, to his surprise, Charlie’s dad, with the help of an AA buddy, sobers up and life is good again. But Charlie doesn’t forget his promise and when he hears a dog howling behind what he and the other kids call “The Psycho House,” he doesn’t hesitate. What he finds is an old man, Howard Bowditch, lying on the back steps, his leg horribly broken and an equally old dog named Radar. Charlie calls 911 and, knowing Mr. Bowditch is going to be in the hospital for a while, offers to take care of the dog. Thus, begins a strange and compelling friendship between the old man (who is rife with secrets), Charlie, and the dog. The bond that develops between the three, sets Charlie on a journey to a strange land reminiscent in many ways of the fairy tales he was read as a child. Charlie’s journey, which is actually more like a quest, takes him to dark and dangerous places he may never return from.
I loved this novel. King’s writing is superb – there are no wasted words. To say I couldn’t put it down in an understatement. Reading Fairy Tale reminded me of how I devoured other King works such as The Stand, The Shining, and the best vampire book ever, Salem’s Lot. By the time I reached the end of Fairy Tale, I knew I would miss Charlie and Rades, much like I missed Frodo and Samwise when I finished The Lord of the Rings so many years ago.
Fairy Tale is highly recommended for anyone who reads, irrespective of genre. It’s just that good.
Oh, and how many stars, you ask, do I give this novel?
My answer: As many as you can count in the sky on a clear night under a full moon.