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  • Writer's pictureKenneth

Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

Hello and welcome to another edition of me typing stuff and words, hoping they make sense in some mad fashion!

I just realized I haven’t posted anything in a long while, so now I am doing everything in my power to rectify that, everything in my power right now is sitting down typing and drinking copious amount of coffe.

Today’s book is “Growing Things and other stories” by Paul Tremblay. A short story collection of horror stories. I had not read any of Paul Tremblay’s books before and I had heard (and read) a lot of good comments about his work, so I thought I might check out what all the fuss was about. Why not start with a short story collection.

I decided to just write some short comments about all the stories in this collection, I won’t do a deep analysis of each story, mainly because I am not eloquent enough to do so, nor do I inhabit the right skills to do that.

Well, without further ado, let’s start:

Growing things:

First story out and it’s the one that gives name to this collection. This is connected to “A Head Full of Ghosts”, a book that I have not read yet.

The story in itself is a good start on this collection, telling the story of young Merry and Marjorie, two sisters trapped in a cabin whilst apparently the world is ending outside, and there is something slightly off with Majorie.

An unsettling tale to say the least, a good start.

Swim wants to know if it’s as bad as Swim thinks:

An meth addict takes her daughter to an abandoned house when massive monsters climbers out from the sea to stalk the land crushing everything in its wake. It takes talent to write an unlikable character in a short story, usually I would need more than 20 pages to make me dislike a character.

Something about birds:

If horror fiction has thought me anything, it is the fact that you should stay away from recluse writers! A journalist gets to interview a famous writer that has acquired a cult status, upon leaving, the writer invites the journalist to a social gathering, as a token of admittance to this gathering he is given a small birds head, then strange things start happening. Bit nightmarish at times.

The getaway:

After a botched robbery, the perpetrators start disappearing from the getaway car, like literally disappearing into thin air. I would be unsettled if that happened to me, not the robbery part but the disappearing part, although thinking about it the robbery part would also leave me unsettled.

Nineteen snapshots of Dennisport:

Nothing supernatural in this story, more of a growing up story that ends as a revenge tale.

This tale captures, well, snapshots, for lack of a better word, of holiday life as a teenager, with a tragic outcome!

Where we all will be:

Now I do enjoy a good cosmic horror short story (long ones too)! So, this one is straight up my alley. Zane’s brain is wired a bit differently, that why he is not experiencing what the rest of the population is experiencing, when everybody is going “where they all will be”.

The teacher:

Probably one the most realistic story in this collection, the power a teacher has over students can be quite strong, and with the right impulses they can either make or break their life (and sanity), this is a story of breaking. Probably the most harrowing tale in the whole book!

Notes for “the barn in the wild”:

A found footage (technically not footage, found notebook) story, I do love stories like this, where someone if following the trail of some unfortunate soul, in a hope to unravel the mystery of their death. Slight cosmic horror undertones in this story, so that is always a plus in my book! (I don’t have a book where I put a plus in whenever I come across a story I like, that would be weird!)


Definitely the best named story in this book! Sitting wondering how it will be pronounced in an audiobook.

As for the story itself, it’s a surreal tale of a man sitting by a public pool who does not know the person who is talking to him, and obliviously knows him really well!

Our towns monster:

This is a tale of everyday life of a town that has its own massive monster, and then the monster awakes, and it is hungry and angry!

A haunted house is a wheel upon which some are broken:

A choose your own adventure tale, used excellently in this ghost story! This is one of my favourites in the whole collection (kind of hard considering the quality of all these stories)

A creepy read!

Originally published in Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, from Crystal Lake Publishing, check it out!

It won’t go away:

If I got a dollar (or Pound, depending on where one lives) for every time a writer has a book or a story featuring an author, well, then I would be filthy rich! (and why I would get said money and not the writers are besides the point!) But that being said it is always fun to read a story with features that should feel oversaturated, but still manages to feel fresh. Also feel like it is a bit autobiographical (probably just me)

Notes from the dog walkers:

Told in note form from several dog walkers, employed to walk the authors dog (it is a very meta tale) as the story progresses, it becomes more unsettling and weirder. Longest story in the book took me a while to get into it but well worth it in the end!

Further questions for the somnambulist:

Short and reads like a dream, namely a nightmare!

The ice tower:

Another cosmic horror one which is set in the Antarctic (I have a predisposition for stories set in either the Arctic or the Antarctic)

The society of the monsterhood:

A group of children has a monster that eats everyone who bullies them, most people would like to have had that as they grew up!

Her red right hand:

Starts off as a supernatural tale, then as the story progresses, one will realize that this is a Hellboy story. An absolute win, who doesn’t love a good Hellboy story?

It’s against the law to feed the ducks:

The end of the world seen through a child’s innocent eyes, it’s a tale of a kid that is on holiday with his family when the world ends. It takes great skill to write from a kids perspective and make them believable!

The thirteenth temple:

As with the opening story, this story is connected to “A Head Full of Ghosts”, Merry and Marjorie is featured in this tale, albeit a longer and quite surreal tale, with a folksy feel to it. In my eyes this is a great story to end this collection! Come full circle.

So, in the conclusion I will say that this I a well-crafted short story collection, that shows off Paul Tremblay’s talent! As I wrote in the beginning of this post, I had not read any of Paul Tremblay’s work before, but as soon as I had finished “Growing Things” I went straight and ordered “A Head Full of Ghosts”, The Cabin at the End of the World” and Disappearance at Devil's Rock”, if “Growing Things” is any indication of what to expect of his books, then I am in good hands!

So, in conclusion; if you are on the lookout for some great horror look no further! And if you are looking for a cookbook, why are you here?

Notes on book:

Genre: horror/short story collection?

Format: Paperback

Page number: 484

Publisher: Titan Books



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