by Mrs. Kelley\’s Class
River Bend Middle School 2017-2018
This slim volume is in the same vein as This I Believe– stories written by students, then printed and bound by an online service. I had much the same reaction as to the previous collection of student essays- but in this case was able to just enjoy the reading experience, glossing over the typos and grammar mistakes. It felt more like an actual book in my hands- the presentation in that regard well done. A bit awkward that the pages seemed to be direct facsimiles of papers the students had turned in- so all the fonts different not only in style and size but also weight- some the ink so faint it was difficult read.
Regardless, I found it entertaining. The stories in here feature ghosts, demons, creepy monsters (one made of something described as black noodles), haunted houses. There\’s a story about a swarm of spiders, and another with a mutant plant creature that eats people. I don\’t usually watch horror films, but even I could see where some of the inspiration came from, with familiar elements- orphans and a well reminiscent of The Ring, a ghost of a starving child that crawls out of a television, one with idea very like Mirrors, another with a creepy rocking chair, etc. A story in here that made me stop and think what? at the end was \”The Call,\” even though the material felt typical.
A few were unique to me. One about a creature that crawled out of the Rhine, showing up over decades- and I laughed at the conversation the monster had with a person it caught, about who was the present \”leader\” of Britain. The ending was confusing though. The other that caught my attention was actually quite disturbing- seemed to be about an inner struggle, very descriptive but kinda hard to figure out. I think it was depicting self loathing or fear, the person in the story apparently killed part of her own persona in the end. Two other stories that I found a bit disturbing had a parent suddenly turn violent- in one case possessed by a demon, in the other the parent was just suddenly evil and became the terrifying, threatening entity the kid was desperate to escape from.
Part of the whole collection that started to amuse me was noticing certain words repeated though many of the stories- I think it must have been a vocabulary list the students were supposed to make use of. Including: derision, nonentity, haggard, audacity, trepidation, pulsating, raucous, supposition and premises. Those words just started to stand out through the pages, particularly since I read all the stories in one sitting.
My daughter made the cover illustration!
Rating: 3/5 48 pages, 2017