Life Seemed Good, But....A Collection of Short Quirky Stories

Rated 4.85/5 based on 13 reviews
Life Seemed Good, but then I am reincarnated as a grilled cheese sandwich, a hand-puppet takes over my life, I am cursed by a potato, aliens give me a fortune and take it away, my pet dinosaur dies from reptile dysfunction, I have to eat brains to stay happy. Cows eat rabbits and turkeys eat people for Thanksgiving. And more! More

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About Richard Bell

I have been writing a column entitled 'Modern Fables' for over six years for Wassup Local magazine, which is distributed from Chicago to Milwaukee and all counties in between. I'm an eccentric and recluse, writer, and musician with an unusual sense of humor. I am originally from Chicago, am married, and currently residing in Wisconsin. While some kids had to be funny to have other kids like them, I had to be funny so my parents would like me.

Reviews

Review by: Pat Cameron on Oct. 26, 2013 :
Mr. Bell has a strange and wonderful mind. His stories ranging from spuds to squirrels are delightful and even suited (for the most part) for late night readings to children with inquiring minds that refuse to sleep without tinfoil on their heads.
Thanks Mr. Bell. Perhaps you have a series of shorts and illustrated stories in you as well.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Josh Smith on June 10, 2012 :
"Life Seemed Good, But...." kept me engaged and laughing. The humor of the tales brought characters to life and provided an escape from this comparatively less thrilling world. Following Scooter and Biff, the turtles of the Mystee Forest, or the little aliens through the short stories provided characters you relate to and want to venture into their world. I look forward to delving further into the Mystee Forest!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: michael gorsuch, Sr on March 06, 2012 :
M.A.Gorsuch , Life Seemed Good ,ive found this e-book too be funny, imaginative,quirky ,it made me chuckle ...I found it in the vein of Monty Python,...Bell's humor is intelligent, and caring , with a dry sense of humor , thanks Mr. Bell i cant wait for the next !!!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Dave Gourdoux on Oct. 20, 2011 :
“Life Seemed Good, But ….” is an e-book collection (available from Smashwords.com) of short comic essays and fables written by my fellow Kenosha Writer’s Guild member, Richard Bell, and is unlike anything else you are likely to read. Quirky and imaginative, Bell’s fractured fairy tales are imaginative and quirky and funny and defy convention. Many of the stories lead you to believe that there is some profound moral or lesson to be learned, however, more often than not, they instead lead to an absurdly underwhelming conclusion (“This is how the legend of Timmy the smelly, bald, and fat porcupine began” and the unforgettable moral, “Never interfere with dancing magical trolls who have matches" are two examples).

Bell’s humor is soft and surreal and intelligent, even when revealing the twisted stupidity of his characters. If you read closely, you’ll find, buried in the nonsense, clever references to T.S. Eliot, Lewis Carroll, and, in one of my favorites, to “On the Waterfront” in a story about a tongue tied shoe named Terry that could have been a contender.

Bell writes with a stand up comic’s sense of timing, yet he refuses to be constrained by the typical setup-punch line structure of the traditional joke. Rather, his humor is of the Monty Python – Steve Martin variety – he presents situations, images and asides that are just intrinsically funny, and make you laugh out loud without knowing why you are laughing. For example, one of the stories, “Revenge”, begins this way:

"In a long procession marched the villagers up the dark, remote mountainside. Some carried torches, some had pitchforks, and one had a 3/8" socket torque wrench."

“Life Seemed Good, But …” evokes James Thurber, Robert Benchley, and Ogden Nash, yet at the same time is the voice of a distinct and unique comic mind. A disturbed mind, maybe, but distinct and unique and funny none the less.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: brian sherwood on July 06, 2011 :
I tell ya what, I just love Richard Bell's dry sense of humor. He and I worked together about 20 years ago in an unpleasant work environment, and rich's sense of humor was one of the things that kept me sane in those times. "Life Seemed Good, But..." is proof that, like a fine wine, Richard's humor has only improved with age.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: L. A. Wright on June 04, 2011 :
Article first published as Book Review: Life Seemed Good, But... by Richard Bell on Blogcritics.

A group of short stories, somewhat in the style of an anthology, Life Seemed Good But … by Richard Bell is a funny and compelling compilation of stories sure to get you laughing. Reading the first few stories, I was not sure what I thought but as I continued on my journey, I began to see the ties that seemed to connect this set of stories and make it into hilarious continuing work of comedy.

Each of the stories is unique and of itself and yet if you pay close attention you can seem they are not random but very precise in the lineup. I found myself laughing out loud so many times at the different types of word usage and famous sayings that are changed up to fit the story and yet you still get the gist of the original. The comedy is sometimes sophomoric, absolutely slapstick, and while the author states his influences as being Dick Van Dyke, Bill Cosby, and Jonathan Winters, I saw a bit of the humor that would have fit brilliantly in episodes of the Three Stooges.

Throughout the stories, the Mystee Forest figures predominantly, and then our protagonist, whom I identify with the author, seems to find tinfoil some form of safety device. Often wearing a hat made of the material, he has some very ingenious and comedic interchanges with different and oftentimes inventive outcomes. Another quite important part of the story would be the clowns in a jeep that continue to show up periodically, but with their own little piece of the puzzle which usually includes running over or into something. And then there are the potatoes. Whats up with that?

While many of the characters seem to be written with children in mind, the story is not; often they deal with drugs and other formats not particularly suitable for children. Although from the laughter I myself experienced, maybe there is a reason to have characters a child would be attracted to, they certainly held my attention.

If you enjoy humor and better yet, outright laughter, this is an extremely fun and engaging work. Richard Bell’s sense of humor is intact and it seems he is also quite comfortable poking fun at himself as well. This would be a great book for guests, and in fact would be a particular treat for the Dr.’s office while waiting for an appointment, it takes your mind off the mundane and transports you into a sort of cartoon world, a “Calgon take me away” sort of place, where you can be anything you want to be.

This book was received free as a Smashwords edition from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the information.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Doug Schroder on April 27, 2011 :
Like his writings in Wassup Local Magazine, this book stays true to form with Richard's own unique, quirky and slightly twisted style. Sometimes bizarre, but always entertaining, I'd recommend this book as a change of pace to the hum drums of everyday life.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Scott Brooks on April 25, 2011 :
I absolutely love Richard Bell's writing style. It's so random and unique. This book reminds of a good song - it just gets better with each read. I highly recommend this humorous book to anyone who needs to escape the stressful monotony of life.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Jerry Wright on April 21, 2011 :
Richard Bell is a quirky writer with butterfly wit. He flits from humorous flower to humorous flower with the reader running after trying to catch him in a butterfly net. This is a book for quick dips into the warped mind of Mr. Bell. By reading s story or two, wandering off and thinking about the strangeness, then coming back for another sample, you'll find although that "things seemed good until things fell apart" for people in the stories, but things ARE good for the readers. All-in-all a fun book in a sporadic way.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Ashton Amo on April 19, 2011 :
Rolling on the floor, laughing my ass off funny!!! I loved this book. It seriously cracked me up. I actually loved some of these stories so much that I took it to work and read a few out loud. My co-workers, in turn, were laughing their asses off!
Richard Bell brings you into this very unique and bizarre world, that is a very nice breath of fresh air - well if you don't include Farty-Horse, whose real name is Melvin....but that is a horse of different color...lol.
Seriously, this was a great book. The stories were original, and very entertaining. I can definitely say, I will never ever look at a potato the same, ever again.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Gary Brandt on April 19, 2011 :
An interesting collection of stories that force you to think deaply about their meaning. The connections to real life are there, and you will have a good time trying to connect the dots. The stories are just the right lenght. Clearly entertaining, in a different way, it will become as easy of a read as you want it to be.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: terry pawelko on March 29, 2011 :
LIFE SEEMED GOOD, BUT…,is a wonderful and quirky collection of short stories that entertains and fascinates at the same time. Am easy to read that always brings a smile to my face.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Richard Sanders on March 20, 2011 :
I’ve never read anything quite like LIFE SEEMED GOOD, BUT…, and I mean that in a good way. Certain comparisons almost come to mind: Mark Twain on mushrooms? Garrison Keillor with food poisoning? Maybe, but those examples don’t really capture the special, twisted magic of Richard Bell’s universe or his unique way of seeing things.

His world is a strange one, filled as it is with belligerent kangaroos, idiotic trolls, extrasensory potatoes, angry Cajuns, preoccupied Lithuanians, cribbage-playing dragons and various unhealthy obsessions with the mystical properties of tin foil. It’s a loopy place, for sure. And yet somehow, through stories that are by turns hilarious, wry, bittersweet and sometimes all three at the same time, this fractured fairy-tale world turns out to be our own.

I don’t know how he does it. Maybe he’s a genius, but why insult the man? All I know is that when I finished Life Seemed Good, But… I had an urge to scrawl something on the bathroom walls of the world: For a good time, call Richard Bell. Or at least buy his book.

Richard Sanders, DEAD LINE
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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