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Archer Book Club: September 2023

Welcome to the Archer Book Club, or the ABC!

Selection Of The Month


From the author's webpage:

Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. Then, when Charlie is 17, he meets a dog named Radar and his aging master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.

Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.

King’s storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale about another world than ours, in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy – and his dog – must lead the battle.

Zoom Meeting Information

Zoom information will be provided closer to the planned meeting: 12:00pm-1:00pm, September 27th, 2023.

Discussion Points

  1. The first half of the story sets up Charlie’s family, Mr. Bowditch and his injury, Radar, and the gold in Mr. Bowditch’s safe (among other events) before we enter Empis. Why does the author take longer to set up Charlie’s normal world instead of entering straight into the magical one? In your opinion, does this setup help or hinder the story?
  2. Mr. Bowditch says to Charlie, “A brave man helps. A coward just gives presents." What does this mean to you and why is this quote frequently referenced in the novel?
  3. Portals into secondary worlds play a key role throughout the novel. Mr. Bowditch did his utmost to keep the well away from the eyes of people who could exploit this other world. Compare the deep well and cavern into Empis with other portal fantasies. How does the author expand the portal fantasy genre, and how is this book similar? 
  4. King has described the process of writing Fairy Tale as a release of his imagination in response to the early days of the pandemic. How do you think the pandemic influenced the themes and ideas in the novel, if at all? Are there any ways in which the novel speaks to the challenges and fears of our current moment?
  5. In writing Fairy Tale, Stephen King asked himself a question: “What could you write that would make you happy?” What are some of the happiest and most fun moments in this story? What exciting elements or tropes of fantasy and fairy tale are you most drawn to?


Discussion points taken from the publisher's page.