Book Review: “Life Seemed Good, But . . .” by Richard Bell

It’s a delight when I come across a book that I like, one that I find on my own in my seemingly endless and insatiable quest for reading and knowledge. It’s an even greater bonus when a fellow author asks if I would entertain the idea of reading his or her book. I’ve have several such requests this year – about fourteen this year alone – and some were bombs but most where ones that I completely fell head over heels and consider my favorites to keep on my shelf in my home library bookcase or in my virtual Kindle shelf. “Life Seemed Good, But . . .” by Richard Bell falls in to my categories of “Wow,” “This is Great,” “Yeah, I’ll Read This Again,” and “Hey! Can You Read Because I’ve a Recommendation for You . . .”

“Life” is a delicious collection of short tidbits, sketches, micro fiction, or however you would like to categorize these zany and sometimes thought-provoking tales.

The brief description of “Life” describes it as a “cross between Aesop’s Fables and the Brothers Grimm”. I would like to take it a few steps further by saying that it has the witty feel and influence of Bennet Cerf puns, the droll, deadpan narratives of Bob Newhart, and the twisted yarns à la A. J. Jacobs’ “Fractured Fairy Tales.” Put all these together with the Brothers Grimm and Aesop, and here is a uniquely written tome that is worthy of the readers’ time.

I like the way some of these tales are woven into others, specifically certain characters. Some of them appear in other stories, some are briefly mentioned in passing. The reader should pay attention because not only is their placement key, but sometimes they are just in the shadows. It’s all important to the particular stories in the end.

Dialects and accents are right on. It takes a keen ear to put dialect on paper, and for those characters that come from other places, I could hear them speaking, and thus, see them in my imagination. Sure, they maybe stereotypical at times, but isn’t that real life? I believe it is, and it all works seamlessly in this “Life.”

Do I have my ultimate favorite stories? Sure. I cannot list all those that resonated with me but be assured that there are a lot—maybe most. I didn’t take a survey, but I know what I like nonetheless. In “Hand Puppet,” I could not help but visualize Señor Wences and his (literal) hand puppet Johnny. Or maybe gravelly-voiced Pedro. Either way, it made me laugh to beat the band. “Grilled Cheese” was delightfully eerie, and I wanted more. And I did. Or maybe it was the grilled cheese that got more. “The Legend of Timmy” was brilliant in its macabre telling. “Laugh, Clown” practically brought me to laughing tears, and “Welcome Wagon” now makes me scared of answering my doorbell, or to at least cross the street at the sight of grey-haired people wearing pillbox hats. “The Purple Amulet” was priceless in its shrewd presentation. It really was.

There was the Rodney Dangerfield-like conversation between ants in “Amoeba Lips” that made me laugh and laugh: “’As he stood there feeling somewhat perplexed, his goofy friend Jay came by and asked him, “Who was that big zygote I observed you with last night?” “That was no zygote,” quipped Frankie, “that was a paramecium!””

Yet, as I write this review, my favorite quote from “Some Party!” is the following: ’Who is John Galt?’ asked Ernie.’” I like the nod to Ayn Rand here.

Throughout the book, I grasped every nuance and intimation. Not only are there puns, there are subtle and blatant references to pop culture, classic films, musicals, classic literature, historical figures, musicians, actors, science fiction, et cetera. I was glad to see a credit list at the end of this book that give nods and credited to quotes, paraphrases, and other authors, including a glossary of terms and such. Finally, “Wisdom from a Turtle” rounds out this tome with food for the reader’s thoughts.

“Life Seemed Good, But . . .” was a pleasure to read, and I understood the author’s sense of quirky humor. I found nothing off-putting, nor questionable. The dark and quirky humor is right up my alley. I found it best to read this a little at a time. There is a lot to digest and think about, too.

In a few months, when I pick up “Life” again to escape from the real world (that’s the type of book this is), I’ll have other tales that will rise to my favorites. This, in my opinion, is that type of book. Each story is a dazzling oeuvre, and according to the one’s attitude of the day, that is, today’s hilarious tale might just be tomorrow’s uproarious blockbuster story.

I highly recommend this book. It’d make a nice gift for that someone special, too.

You can find “Life Seemed Good, But . . .” on Amazon by clicking this LINK.  Both paperback and Kindle versions are available.

Read more of my reviews on Goodreads HERE.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

Advertisements

2 Comments on “Book Review: “Life Seemed Good, But . . .” by Richard Bell

Let Me Know What You Think:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Central Florida Critter of the Day

A daily photo posting of Central Florida Fauna

Biff Sock Pow

Finding the humor in everyday life.

MakeItUltra™

Psychology to Motivate | Inspire | Uplift

Eva Newermann

Art and Books

Глючные хокку

Избранные хокку. MarkovichUniverse AT gmail DOT com

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

This is the story of an ordinary family, trying to live an ordinary life during an extraordinary time frame, and the lessons they learn through experience.

Pamela Allegretto Artist/Author

Original Art and Fiction Writing

Love Travelling

Travel diaries providing inspiration for planning the perfect trip

The Writer Next Door|Vashti Q

Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Author, Horror, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Suspense/Thriller Short Stories & Articles

Create Space

Creating, living, learning.

Sycamore Stories

One Southern Girl's Life in Vermont

Janaline's world journey

My Strange, Wonderful Experiences and Adventures as I Travel through the World

witness2fashion

Sharing the History of Everyday Fashions

Tom's Nature-up-close Photography and Mindfulness Blog

Mindfulness, Philosophy, Spirituality, Meditation, Awareness, Religion, Nature Photography

The Lonely Author

Hoping to inspire the world one word at a time.

Victor Travel Blog

An illustrated travel magazine by Victor Tribunsky.

The Austrian Dish

Welcome to Austrian Cuisine!

Preserving the Past

50 years of research about aviation by Clarence Simonsen

Forktrails

Indulgent escapes of the Banjaran Foodie

The Ink Owl

"If you don't turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else's story." -Terry Pratchett

Beans, Pen & Nirja

An amateur writer trying to make an impact through her words, just to feel the beauty of life and love. Cherishing the beauty of Hope 💞 I am a banker by profession but I love to write everything that comes to my heart and mind. I am actually hopeless but yet I try to find hope in every aspects of life. I believe life has stored better things for me, so just while keeping wait, I prefer to write 💕 Its about my feelings expressed in words as I am so introvert to express in front of people. It's my diary and pen that understands me better. I love to write and hope other people will also like my write ups. Thank you so much for stopping by and having a look at my blog, Keep reading and suggesting. Love, nirja

FiveFeetAndOneInch

Just a blog about a short girl in her twenties

The Gardenia Cottage

Daily Life at The Gardenia Cottage

Dining with Donald

Donald on dining in and out

But I Smile Anyway...

Musings and memories, words and wisdom... of a working family woman

The People of Pancho

At Play In The Archive

JANE STURGEON

From the banks of The Mersey......

World Hangover

Bad decisions make good stories.

Empowered

Everyday

IMPREINT journal

The official bulletin of the artist IMPREINT created to repost excerpts from 'En plein air'.

The Violet Basket Diary

Entries from the Violet Basket Cottage Diary

The Gardenia Diary

Thoughts on Life Written from The Gardenia Cottage

Jemverse

Life in words

spanishwoods

thoughts from the forest

Friendly Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales and Poetry Celebrating Magic and Nature for Kids of all Ages

A Writer's Path

Sharing writing tips, information, and advice.

Mrs. Twinkle

My Wonderful Little World

Book 'Em, Jan O

Ghosts, Tall Tales & Witty Haiku!

When Timber Makes One Still

"Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to the soul" -John Muir

barrywax

Short Stories by Barry Wax

Online Home of Susan Feathers

Writers live twice. ~ Natalie Goldberg

Little Fears

Tales of whimsy, humor and courgettes

Pre-Code.Com

Celebrating Pre-Code Hollywood Cinema, 1930 - 1934

Central Florida Critter of the Day

A daily photo posting of Central Florida Fauna

Biff Sock Pow

Finding the humor in everyday life.

MakeItUltra™

Psychology to Motivate | Inspire | Uplift

Eva Newermann

Art and Books

Глючные хокку

Избранные хокку. MarkovichUniverse AT gmail DOT com

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

This is the story of an ordinary family, trying to live an ordinary life during an extraordinary time frame, and the lessons they learn through experience.

Pamela Allegretto Artist/Author

Original Art and Fiction Writing

Love Travelling

Travel diaries providing inspiration for planning the perfect trip

The Writer Next Door|Vashti Q

Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Author, Horror, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Suspense/Thriller Short Stories & Articles

Create Space

Creating, living, learning.

Sycamore Stories

One Southern Girl's Life in Vermont

Janaline's world journey

My Strange, Wonderful Experiences and Adventures as I Travel through the World

witness2fashion

Sharing the History of Everyday Fashions

Tom's Nature-up-close Photography and Mindfulness Blog

Mindfulness, Philosophy, Spirituality, Meditation, Awareness, Religion, Nature Photography

The Lonely Author

Hoping to inspire the world one word at a time.

Victor Travel Blog

An illustrated travel magazine by Victor Tribunsky.

The Austrian Dish

Welcome to Austrian Cuisine!

Preserving the Past

50 years of research about aviation by Clarence Simonsen

Forktrails

Indulgent escapes of the Banjaran Foodie

The Ink Owl

"If you don't turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else's story." -Terry Pratchett

Beans, Pen & Nirja

An amateur writer trying to make an impact through her words, just to feel the beauty of life and love. Cherishing the beauty of Hope 💞 I am a banker by profession but I love to write everything that comes to my heart and mind. I am actually hopeless but yet I try to find hope in every aspects of life. I believe life has stored better things for me, so just while keeping wait, I prefer to write 💕 Its about my feelings expressed in words as I am so introvert to express in front of people. It's my diary and pen that understands me better. I love to write and hope other people will also like my write ups. Thank you so much for stopping by and having a look at my blog, Keep reading and suggesting. Love, nirja

FiveFeetAndOneInch

Just a blog about a short girl in her twenties

The Gardenia Cottage

Daily Life at The Gardenia Cottage

Dining with Donald

Donald on dining in and out

But I Smile Anyway...

Musings and memories, words and wisdom... of a working family woman

The People of Pancho

At Play In The Archive

JANE STURGEON

From the banks of The Mersey......

World Hangover

Bad decisions make good stories.

Empowered

Everyday

IMPREINT journal

The official bulletin of the artist IMPREINT created to repost excerpts from 'En plein air'.

The Violet Basket Diary

Entries from the Violet Basket Cottage Diary

The Gardenia Diary

Thoughts on Life Written from The Gardenia Cottage

Jemverse

Life in words

spanishwoods

thoughts from the forest

Friendly Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales and Poetry Celebrating Magic and Nature for Kids of all Ages

A Writer's Path

Sharing writing tips, information, and advice.

Mrs. Twinkle

My Wonderful Little World

Book 'Em, Jan O

Ghosts, Tall Tales & Witty Haiku!

When Timber Makes One Still

"Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to the soul" -John Muir

barrywax

Short Stories by Barry Wax

Online Home of Susan Feathers

Writers live twice. ~ Natalie Goldberg

Little Fears

Tales of whimsy, humor and courgettes

Pre-Code.Com

Celebrating Pre-Code Hollywood Cinema, 1930 - 1934

%d bloggers like this: