"By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes."
I had a strong urge to read this novel. Perhaps it was the title, a quote from one of the witches in [b:Macbeth|8852|Macbeth|William Shakespeare|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327866505s/8852.jpg|1896522] where she says she can tell something evil is about to come because of the way her thumbs are itching. In the next two lines, she welcomes that evil--open the door, let it in (which reminds me of a Paul McCartney song....). Anyway, what a wonderful title! And who can resist a sinister carnival rolling into town? So, I was hooked.
Other reviewers have mentioned loving this novel in their youth, which is understandable due to its two young protagonists, Will and Jim. Boyhood is at once idealized and fraught with danger in the form of devices, both fleshy and mechanical. The one adult who connects with the children, stands both small and tall, in the eyes of the boys, as often a parent will do. And it is the parent who grows and leads and helps, so security is provided in a fearful world. Things are scary, but the good people can prevail. Or maybe not, since I don't want to give anything away....
For me, and I'm no longer young in years, this story is about time and the possible disasters of aging. The Wicked of the title is that future you--old and wrinkled and weak. And for all, it is coming. However, the story offers hope. It offers a way to nullify the wickedness of time. The secret is a matter of perspective. The secret is to look it in the eye, and laugh. To go ahead and run with the boys if you wish. We have the power to overcome the dread that awaits us, by not crying over lost youth or trembling in fear. Step outside the finite, and you will be amazed at the world again.
In summary, I enjoyed the story and loved its ability to speak across the ages. The lack of a fifth star is due to the style of prose that bothered me at times--still highly recommended though, for the springboard into thoughtfulness.