What did you think?

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Mrs Pennywise

Apr 22, 2020
Another great collection of stories, I think Stephen is well suited to the novella format. Some of my favourite stories by him are novellas, and he has rarely put out a novella that wasn't at least very good. (only once that I can think of).

Mr Harrigan's Phone- A nice coming of age story with just enough of the darkness and supernatural. The relationship between Craig and Mr Harrigan is really interesting to explore, and the comments on modern technology are pertinent. Really good story, 4.5/5

Life of Chuck- The strangest story in the book, and definitely my favourite. The first act inside Chuck's head is amazing. It's a little confusing to read, but for me it all comes together beautifully at the end. 5/5

If it Bleeds- My least favourite in the collection. Holly is fine as a character, but I don't really see why Stephen wants to keep coming back to her, in my opinion she isn't that companion. The idea of this particular Outsider was great, but I think the conclusion could have been handled better, it was a little pedestrian in my opinion. Still, it was an enjoyable read. 3.5/5

Rat- A really well done dark fairytale. Maybe not the most original story, but it was executed nicely. 4/5

Overall, a great addition to the collection and maybe the best thing he's done since 11/22/63, highly recommeded.


Flaming Wonder Telepath
May 15, 2018
I think something fishy is up. The release date was scheduled in May, then moved to April, then to an even earlier date in April. I pre-ordered the dang thing from Amazon and now have received a message that the delivery date will be close to the original May date. Were they just trying to get my money a couple weeks early? :(
you have better luck ordering from a seller that specializes in books. Amazon is delaying non-essential products. So if you want something that isn't a utility or tool or whatever, you're going to want to find an online seller for it. Or buy it digitally, if that floats your boat


Flaming Wonder Telepath
May 15, 2018
Mrs. Pennywise, I haven't received the book yet (should arrive tomorrow), so I didn't click on your comments, but I am curious: which novella was not up to par in your opinion?
The Breathing Method, interesting concept, mediocre execution. I did not care or find any of the characters compelling, especially after the other 3 in Different Seasons.

Shawshank is emotional and gripping. The Body invokes nostalgia and relatability. And Apt Pupil is so straight up disturbing it just kinda sticks with you

I have not gotten to any of his other novella collections. Though Langoliers, Sun Dog, and 1922 intrigue me. Unless you count Blockade Billy and Morality, which I actually read before I really got into his work with Christine back in the summer after 7th grade.


Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2006
It always a great feeling to crack open a new King book. Particularly on a nice Spring day. None of us are getting any younger so who is say when that will be the last time? I've read the first three stories. A couple thoughts.
Mr. Herrigan's Phone. My first impression was how can it be that reading about 2004 is like ancient history? I can remember when a "long time ago" was the 1950s. The story itself is basically Hearts in Atlantis meets that episode of the Twilight Zone where the telephone line falls in the graveyard. A fairly typical but not particularly inspired King effort. The Life of Chuck. The story format here is the story. It has its moments and interesting to read in reverse order but again doesn't really resonate. The idea that each individual is a sort of universe to themselves is not very original (Poe's dream within a dream). If It Bleeds. This feels like the most complete story because it is longer and borrows from characters already developed. It is always nice to find out what happens next to a character and this one does the trick. A bit disappointing that Holly has to deal with yet another variation of the Outsider. And the whole business with the elevator seemed overly complicated if the plan was to shoot the guy. I started thinking about Kolchak - the Night Stalker and his monster of the week encounters. I'm not a huge fan of the Bill Hodges books but this is nice little addition. Onward to the Rat.


Well-Known Member
Mar 9, 2018
I just finished Mr. Harrigan's phone and enjoyed it very much. I'm in a good place with SK works as I've read all of the novels and have gone back to read the short story collections for the first time. If a new novel or collection comes out I buy it, finish the short story I'm currently reading and get to reading the new stuff. After the newest book is finished I can return to my short story collections. I've just put aside "Everything's Eventual" to read "If it Bleeds".

Marty Coslaw

Low-BDNF Gork
May 19, 2018
It's kind of a running joke that the term 'arc sodium light' turns up in almost every King novel at some point. We average folk call them 'street lights' but King uses the other phrase. It's one of the small things in life that bring me pleasure. ;)
I think that every time I read it, but I've never seen it mentioned anywhere!! Thank you for confirming that I'm not the only one...

Marty Coslaw

Low-BDNF Gork
May 19, 2018
I finished this one and it took a while for me to solidify an opinion on it. It read to me like it was picking up steam as it went: I was feeling more optimistic once I got to "If It Bleeds," even though I prefer Holly paired with Hodges, and I absolutely loved "Rat." The ending of that story alone made any preceding disappointment more than worthwhile. And I did find that I enjoyed Holly story, though I found the
where everyone happens to regain his or her composure at the moment they're needed. I think the fatalistic themes were well-developed in the original trilogy but lost traction starting with <i>The Outsider</i>.
a little exasperating. The afterword was also fascinating, and made me want to go back and read the other components of the three-story arc (which had eluded me completely). There were definitely strong points in the first two stories, but I enjoyed this book more and more as I went, until I had to go back and re-watch Mr. Mercedes, and then move on to another King book because I couldn't bear to start on something from another author.


Happy to be here!
Feb 18, 2012
I finished it last week. I will be honest with my friends here. I had not read anything about this and did not quite get it was 4 novellas at first. I read the back flap and it mentioned Holly and Ralph and I was excited. Then I read Mr. Harrigan's Phone, which I really enjoyed and I thought, OK, this is like Finder's Keepers
where they start with a backstory of another character
then I started The Life of Chuck and saw that the main character's last name was Anderson so I was trying to make him into Ralph's son but it didn't seem right. I took a step back and a few deep breaths and realized, huh, these are not all tied together. Maybe, just enjoy each for what it is worth! :sigh::facepalm_smiley:

Anywho, the rest of my thoughts on the stories follows:
The Life of Chuck - This was just beautiful to me. The concept that we each hold a whole world within us! And the moments that stick out as important in each person's life. Just blew me away.
Rat - This had a Bag of Bones vibe to me and was good, but not my favorite of the 4.
If it Bleeds - I do understand the comments about this one, but I am fully on Team Holly! If you read the Afterword, it seems Steven is on the same page. She was supposed to be a minor character and became something else. I love to see how she has grown and healed as a person. Plus the story felt just right to me. The old guy and his "terribly gay" grandson were a hoot as well! Sight and sound to catch the Outsider!


Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2007
Some very interesting opinions here.

I have finished "Rat" and "Chuck."

I also absolutely loved "Rat," and thought it had a good ending. However, as perhaps in line with one of the story's themes, let me say a thought came to me unbidden.

Okay, so I enjoyed the ambiguity of the story, although I lean toward the actual occurrence of the supernatural. I enjoyed the ending as is, with him writing the one book. However, it occurred to me, what if the rat-Devil was able to offer him more? I thought that maybe, if he were offered more books, Larson actually might decide to take them. What if he sacrificed his family for three more books? Might have been a more exciting way to go. Although, it should be said, once one does that, there is the risk of feeling like we are treading over old horror-cliché ground. That's why I say the ending as is works for me. Nevertheless, it makes me wonder how that would have played out for the board; would Larson have actually taken such a deal?

I believe "Chuck" to be one of the best King tales I have read. It has a couple flaws, but really, they are inconsequential.

Here's the thing about this story. Know how you get to the end of a very good short story but you want more...that's the opening, the third act. Then, it felt as if King were doing that: giving us more, even though the third act easily could have been a short story all its own. I don't have his author's note in front of me, but he may even have implied as such. The second act is one of the flaws...it was well-told, but I'm not sure the whole dancing thing is of interest to me. Except, maybe it has more of a meaning to it? I don't know. Have to think more about it. But the first act actually spooked me out as I read it at night. The ghost visions were quite cool, and I wonder, did that teacher cast a spell over him, wittingly or unwittingly? I thought the vision would have been of the world dying instead of him in the bed, but it was fine either way. Question remains: why Chuck...why did he contain the multitudes?

Like I say, I really enjoyed it. And forgive me, too lazy at the moment, to go back in the thread, but I believe it was GNTLGNT who said he would have to go back and think about this story some more. Let me know if that meant you liked it or not, just curious. For me, I agree...I have to think more about this. I do know I liked it, though.

Next up for me is the first tale, then I will settle in with the title story...


Jun 23, 2007
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
It was a real pleasure reading all of those 4 stories in 'If It Bleeds'. I finished about a week ago and the one story my mind mostly went to in the following week was the rat one. Even though I liked "If It Bleeds' better. I guess I have a thing with rats (I wouldn't say phobia but I get squirmy around them, real or fictional). I still remember that barn scene in '1922' when that fat rat was pulling his prize towards the well pipe.