Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Audio Review: The Halloween Tree
3 Stars - Recommended for readers familiar with audiobooks
Ray Bradbury and I have a strange author/reader relationship. Fahrenheit 451 is one of my favorite novels of all time, where he forecasted a dark and dangerous future where books were banned and owning one could cost you your life. I found myself on the fence with The Martian Chronicles, where we colonize Mars and find ourselves face to face with Martians who look just like us. A fan of the film version of Something Wicked This Way Comes, I just couldn't get into the book. It felt like something was missing....
But it's October, and I've recently become obsessed with audiobooks, and my library had The Halloween Tree sitting there begging to be borrowed. What better way to get into the Fall frame of mind than listening to the story of 8 little boys who end up traveling through time to find their friend Pipkin, who was kidnapped by death on Halloween night, while they learn about the history of Halloween - the origins of the Mummy, Witches, Gargoyles, and Ghosts. What better way to give Ray Bradbury another shot?!
For starters, the audiobook version was the first I'd ever listened to that had more than one reader: Mr. Moundshroud, the man who lived in the big old scary house with the Halloween Tree in his backyard, the story's narrator, and each of the little boys were all read by someone different. There was also a slew of sound effects and music, both creepy and fitting.
The story itself was odd and a bit preachy. It didn't feel entirely fleshed out, a bit gappy and a bit rushed. I'd read somewhere that the editor had a field day with the original manuscript, chopping huge parts out and turning it into more of a young adult story than Bradbury had initially intended.
Overall, the audiobook's atmosphere meshed well with the falling leaves and chilly weather. And its short for an audio, all crammed into two cd's. If you've read it, I would recommend giving the story a listen!