Thursday, November 2, 2023

Stephen King's If It Bleeds Read-Along - If It Bleeds and Rat

This is a read-along so be aware of possible spoilers ahead.

I apologize for having to combine the final two novellas in one discussion. October flew by, and I couldn't keep up. I enjoyed both of them very much. I hope you did too!

News flash: The Life of Chuck (the second novella in this collection) is being made into a series and the series creator is none other than Mike Flanagan. Pretty exciting, as Flanagan's work is always good. Not sure what network it will stream on yet.

If It Bleeds

Let me first say that Stephen King's The Outsider is one of King's best, in my opinion. I was riveted through the entire book, and I really enjoyed the HBO series as well. I also agree with King about Holly Gibney. She is one of my all time favorite characters. (Still need to get my hands on his new novel all about her.)

It's intriguing how SK came up with the premise for this story. Not the part where this being is similar to the one in The Outsider, in that it can change it's appearance (skin-walker comes to mind), but how the idea was sparked by seeing the same reporters reporting on all the disasters on the news. Genius! In this case, it is relatively harmless...its only negative trait is thriving on disaster. It's when it starts causing the disasters that we (Holly) have a problem.

The reason I think Holly is such a great character is her quirkiness, yes, but also how she has persevered through so much, and is carrying on healthy relationships with friends, and achieving success. She still has her moments of anxiety and self-doubt, but she thinks back to those who have taught her and helped her along the way (Bill Hodges, Ralph Anderson), and relies on her friends who care so much for her. These things help her stay grounded so she can do what she does best - catch monsters, save people, and protect her friends.   

That ending had me on the edge of my seat, and also wondering if there are more "skin-walkers" in Holly's future. I can't wait to continue on with what SK has cooked up for her next.


Okay, so I'm a writer, and I'm not sure if you've heard of it, but there's a little writing challenge that goes on every November called NaNoWriMo (Google it if you're not familiar) and I'm participating. I'm not so sure this was the story I should be reading right about now. 

SK sure knows how to write about something that may seem perfectly mundane (a writer who loses his shit every time he tries to write a novel), but for those of us who write, it is horrific. Although I will say that I kept thinking "Dude, get over it." So maybe I'll be okay. lol 

I'll admit, when the rat spoke, I jumped a mile. Was it real, or was Drew's fevered mind playing tricks on him? Was the death of Al and his wife truly just an accident, or was it truly the fulfillment of Drew's bargain (wish) with the rat? SK leaves it open for our interpretation because, even when the rat shows up again, we still don't know for sure if Drew is still imagining it. I'm coming down on the side that the whole thing was real, and I certainly would never trade finishing writing a novel for someone's death, terminal (supposed) cancer or not. Having made that choice, I can certainly understand why Drew decides to never write another novel.

So what did you think about these two novellas? Share your thoughts on the two novellas in the comments, or leave a link to a post. 

I'd like to thank those of you who joined in on the read-along, and Something Wicked Fall. We will be back next fall with more scary and another read-along. Until then, happy horror reading!

This post is a part of...

photo Cat.gif
- See more at: