Life Seemed Good, But… is a book of imaginative short stories written by Richard Bell. I received an e-book copy in exchange for an honest review, and I was excited to read it as it sounded intriguing!
Disclosure: I was kindly gifted this book by the author in exchange for a review. All opinions are honest and my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something through my link, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. I only advertise products that I have used myself and would genuinely recommend.
What are the short stories about?
The stories are bizarre, silly and full of dark, fantasy humour. They are written in the style of fairy tales and indeed they feature magical creatures including gnomes, dragons, witches and talking animals. However, they are definitely not written for the young or faint-hearted as many of them contain comedy violence and adult themes.
As the title suggests, most of the stories end badly for one or more of the characters. This sets them apart from the typical ‘happy ever after’ fairy tale.
What is this book like to read?
The stories are all really short, averaging at about 2 pages long. This makes it easy to pick up and read a couple of stories when you have a spare few minutes or are waiting around.
Some of the stories twist and turn in a surprising way and don’t end as you would expect. This makes them very humorous, especially the ones that have a totally random, unexpected ending!
The author recommends reading the stories in order because there are recurring themes that come back in later stories. I did this and I was surprised by just how many recurring themes kept popping up. This created unity between the stories and a feeling that they were all happening within the same world, even though the individual stories differed a lot.
The cover art is amusing and reflects themes found in several of the stories. Therefore I could appreciate the cover art more when looking back at it after finishing the book.
I recently reviewed a similarly strange book, Magic by Mike Russell, however, this tops it on the strangeness scale! It is unlike any book I have ever read before, and Richard Bell certainly has a wild imagination. I like to widen my horizons and read books in genres I don’t normally read, so I found this book to be a refreshing change and I enjoyed it.
What were my favourite stories?
Some of my favourite stories in this collection were:
- Grilled Cheese
- Making New Friends
- The Gloomy-Bird
Would I recommend ‘Life Seemed Good, But…’?
Yes, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a humorous, quirky read that they can pick up anytime.
The author, Richard Bell, wrote this book when he was going through a difficult time in his life. Writing was his therapy to help him beat depression. It is his hope that these stories can help bring a bit of light relief and humour to others going through similar difficulties, and I think they could definitely provide that.
Therefore I would also recommend this book to anyone who is going through a difficult time and could do with some humour to cheer them up!