Gwendy’s Button Box, Stephen King, Maggie Siff, narrator
When Gwendy, (combo of Wendy and Gwendolyn) is 12 years old, she is taunted at school about her weight and called “Goodyear” by a nasty boy at school. She decides to slim down and exercises running up and down suicide stairs, in Castle Rock, Maine. One day, an odd man with a small black hat who has been sitting on a bench close by for days, without speaking to her, suddenly calls out to her. After a brief conversation, he presents her with a gift, she really cannot refuse. It is a beautiful box for which she is now responsible. It has several buttons and levers. One lever provides a small beautiful animal made out of a delicious chocolate, no bigger than a jelly bean. What does this chocolate do for Gwendy? The other lever dispenses rare silver coins. There is a red button which grants wishes and a black button she is warned never to touch. There are seven buttons representing the continents of the world.
How the box changes her life is the subject of the story. It is entertaining and read well by the narrator. Her character is developed clearly as is the character of the man with the black hat, Mr. Ferris. Over the next decade, we share Gwendy’s life. Will Mr. Ferris ever return, or will Gwendy bear the burden of the box forever? Is the box good or evil? Why was Gwendy picked to watch over it?
The Music Room, Stephen king, author; Maggie Siff, narrator
It is around the time of the Great Depression. People are starving and suffering. The Enderbys, a childless couple, have devised a diabolical way to make it through these difficult times. In their home there is a sound proof closet in which they have placed various guests. What happens to those guests is revealed as the short story plays out. Are they murderers or thieves? I didn’t find this story plausible by any stretch of the imagination.