Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay

Growing Things and Other Stories is a collection of short horror stories.

They are all different with some being creepy, some amusing and others disturbing. I really enjoyed the variety and it was great to pick it up, put it down then pick it up again to something completely different. Each story left me with questions, they made me think and a couple have really stuck with me, my thoughts just mulling over them.

“In “The Teacher,” a Bram Stoker Award nominee for best short story, a student is forced to watch a disturbing video that will haunt and torment her and her classmates’ lives. Four men rob a pawn shop at gunpoint only to vanish, one-by-one, as they speed away from the crime scene in “The Getaway.”

In “Swim Wants to Know If It’s as Bad as Swim Thinks,” a meth addict kidnaps her daughter from her estranged mother as their town is terrorized by a giant monster . . . or not.

Joining these haunting works are stories linked to Tremblay’s previous novels. The tour de force metafictional novella “Notes from the Dog Walkers” deconstructs horror and publishing, possibly bringing in a character from A Head Full of Ghosts, all while serving as a prequel to Disappearance at Devil’s Rock. “The Thirteenth Temple” follows another character from A Head Full of Ghosts—Merry, who has published a tell-all memoir written years after the events of the novel. And the title story, “Growing Things,” a shivery tale loosely shared between the sisters in A Head Full of Ghosts, is told here in full.

From global catastrophe to the demons inside our heads, Tremblay illuminates our primal fears and darkest dreams in startlingly original fiction that leaves us unmoored. As he lowers the sky and yanks the ground from beneath our feet, we are compelled to contemplate the darkness inside our own hearts and minds.”

I particularly liked the first story Growing Things as it softly set the tone. Then Something About Birds raised it and put me on edge. I really like Nineteen Snapshots Of Dennisport as it was very visual and the build up created a tense atmosphere, you just knew something bad had happened. I found The Teacher downright disturbing and I am still mulling over it, that one really lingered. Upon Which Some Are Broken was fun because at the end of each chapter you got to choose which page to go to next based on some options so you dictated the flow of the story. It reminded me of reading Goosebumps as a kid. Actually now I think of it the whole collection is basically Goosebumps for adults which is awesome. It Won’t Go Away is probably my favourite as it is about horror writers and it had just the right amount of disturbing for me.

I have to say this was really good and some of the stories I have mentioned are ones I will revisit again, especially The Teacher, that one left my brain in mush. A perfect collection for horror fans or for anyone that wants to dip their toe in without commuting to a full tomb yet.

Many thanks to Titan Books for sending me out a copy to read and review, all opinions are my own and I am not paid to give them.

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