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, but I still got 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. Oh, 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.