Fairy Tale by Stephen King

Read Time:4 Minute, 11 Second

In a small town, Charlie Reade carries the weight of loss and takes care of his father. When he befriends a dog named Radar and her reclusive owner, Howard Bowditch, his life takes an unexpected turn. Bowditch reveals a secret – a portal to another world hidden in a shed. As Charlie delves deeper into this revelation, he discovers a cassette tape that unravels a story beyond belief. This unique coming-of-age tale explores grief, friendship, and the mysteries that lie within the boundaries of our own world. Prepare to embark on a captivating journey into the unknown.

Book review of Fairy Tale

Stephen King takes a refreshing departure from his usual storytelling style in Fairy Tale. While not his typical horror or supernatural tale, the novel introduces us to our hero, seventeen-year-old Charlie. At first glance, Charlie may not seem like the typical protagonist, but he proves himself capable.

Through the narrative, we delve into Charlie’s life, including the tragic loss of his mother and his father’s subsequent struggle with alcoholism. Charlie’s unwavering promise to God to help his father overcome his addiction sets the stage for his character development. Additionally, his unlikely friendship with Mr. Bowditch and his deep affection for Bowditch’s dog, Radar, add emotional depth.

As a seasoned reader of Stephen King’s works, I’ve always appreciated his thorough character biographies. In Fairy Tale, he continues this tradition, allowing us to truly understand and connect with the characters in the story.

Mr. Bowditch, an elderly man, and his aging dog, Radar, form a significant part of Charlie’s journey. Charlie aids Mr. Bowditch during his recovery from a severe leg injury and becomes aware of Radar’s declining health due to age and arthritis. The gradual development of friendship between Charlie and Mr. Bowditch, driven by their mutual solitude, unfolds beautifully. Mr. Bowditch starts to share his stories with Charlie, including the secret of the mysterious locked shed in his backyard.

After Mr. Bowditch’s sudden passing, Charlie becomes consumed with the desire to help Radar. Memories of Mr. Bowditch’s revelations drive him forward.

And so, the enchanting tale of Charlie and Radar’s fairy tale begins. Initially, it may seem implausible, but as the story unravels, readers are compelled to question its reality.

As an avid reader of Stephen King’s works since his debut novel, I have always admired his talent. His narratives have taken me on countless thrilling journeys, introducing me to a multitude of fascinating characters, both good and evil. In Fairy Tale, King once again showcases his psychological insights and clever sense of humor.

The heart of this story lies in the bond between a boy and his loyal companion, and King skillfully portrays the range of emotions that accompany this relationship: from angst and terror to fury and humor. In this book, King delivers an emotional rollercoaster, reminiscent of his earlier works, complete with a captivating fantasy element.

While I was initially hesitant after being unsatisfied with one of King’s previous novels, I’m delighted that I took a chance on Fairy Tale. I found it difficult to tear myself away from the book, forsaking my work obligations to continue reading.

However, I acknowledge that some readers may find the story repetitive or miss the magical elements found in King’s other notable works, such as The Dark Tower series. Additionally, the novel unexpectedly features the death of an innocent character caused by the hero, which may be too much for some readers, considering King’s reputation for gory tales.

Final verdict

Overall, Fairy Tale is a captivating addition to Stephen King’s impressive collection. It showcases his ability to engage and entertain readers, proving that he can deliver an engaging story even without his trademark horror elements.

Our Score


  • Engaging Characters: “Fairy Tale” introduces compelling characters, such as Charlie, Mr. Bowditch, and Radar, who evoke genuine emotions and create a strong connection with the reader.
  • Unique Departure from Genre: Stephen King takes a departure from his usual horror genre and offers a refreshing change of pace with this novel, demonstrating his versatility as a writer.
  • Emotional Depth: The book delves into themes of loss, friendship, and the bond between humans and animals, evoking a range of emotions and allowing readers to connect on a deeper level.


  • Lack of Horror Elements: For readers expecting the trademark horror elements typically associated with Stephen King’s works, “Fairy Tale” may disappoint, as it deviates from his usual supernatural and terrifying storytelling style.
  • Slow Pacing: Some readers may find the pacing of the book to be slower than expected, potentially affecting the overall reading experience and engagement.
  • Controversial Plot Elements: The inclusion of an innocent character’s death caused by the hero may be unsettling for some readers, particularly considering King’s reputation for gory and dark stories. This aspect could potentially detract from the enjoyment of the book.
Fairy TalePublisher ‏ : ‎ Scribner (June 6, 2023)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 624 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1668002191
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1668002193
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.41 pounds
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 1.7 x 8.38 inches

About Article Author

Marcus Wright

Marcus Wright is an avowed serializer and bibliophile. His perfect weekend plan is a series marathon followed by reading a good book. Optimistic by nature, he is always able to see the bright side of things.
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