I really loved this book! I’ve read a few Stephen Kings, but this was very different – not horror (although there were some moments of gruesome violence), but, as the title proclaims, this is a fairy tale. The main character is a seventeen year old American boy, Charlie, who lost his mother to a road accident and whose father is struggling with alcoholism brought on by the grief.
Charlie goes out of his way to help an elderly man who had fallen and broken his leg, and ends up caring for the man’s aging dog. I found the relationship Charlie forms with the dog, and the anguish he feels as the dog’s health declines very moving and I could understand the motivation he felt when the man died and left him the key to a whole other world where a way to give the dog her youth back existed but also great dangers.
Charlie’s future adult self narrates the story, so we know he survives, but that doesn’t take away from the tension which is really more about his choices: whether he does the right thing or saves his own skin, and who or what he has to sacrifice along the way.
I was totally gripped by the plot, and very invested in all the characters. I found the book moving and engaging and I am in awe of Stephen King’s amazing storytelling ability.