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

Rated 4.85/5 based on 13 reviews
A collection of short, humorous-surreal stories with unpredictable endings. Dedicated to all those who cared for someone suffering with cancer or any serious illness. It’s a picture of life as viewed by a rich array of characters, talking animals, and the author’s twisted perception of reality. Contains much hidden trivia. More
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About Richard Bell

I have been writing a column entitled 'Modern Fables' since 2008 for Wassup Local magazine in Lake County, IL. I am originally from Chicago, married, and residing in Wisconsin. While some kids had to be funny so other kids would like them, I had to be funny so my parents would like me. My life and experience are reflected in this book, which was written by several different people, all of them me, over the course of 13 years. I am donating a percentage from my sales to cancer research.

Learn more about Richard Bell

Reviews of Life Seemed Good, But.... A Collection of Short Quirky Stories by Richard Bell

Pat Cameron reviewed 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 3 years after purchase)
Josh Smith reviewed 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 58 days after purchase)
michael gorsuch, Sr reviewed on March 6, 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 26 days after purchase)
Dave Gourdoux reviewed on Oct. 20, 2011

“Life Seemed Good, But ….” is an e-book collection (available from 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 24 days after purchase)
brian sherwood reviewed on July 6, 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 21 days after purchase)
L. A. Wright reviewed on June 4, 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 65 days after purchase)
Doug Schroder reviewed 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)
Scott Brooks reviewed 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)
Jerry Wright reviewed 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 21 days after purchase)
Ashton Amo reviewed 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
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 10 days after purchase)

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