What I Read – Hog Head, and Hello, Old Friend by Elizabeth Bedlam

Title Hog Head
Author Elizabeth Bedlam
Genre Erotic Horror
Format Kindle
Page Length 48
Publication Date 09 Aug 2020
Publisher Self Published
Read Date Feb 2021

Judith drove two hours every week to see her foster brother at the state hospital. She had been doing this for the past five years. She was the only one who would. Their former foster mother couldn’t even stand to look at him after what he did…the pig head. The rope. The knife. The blood…She didn’t get how Judith could. Judith would carry those scars for life because of him.

But Judith was his only family. She felt she had a responsibility to him. He was ill. Society was not kind to those suffering from mental illness. It wasn’t like cancer, something you could scan, measure, and see. Something that could be cut out…

A tale of a mentally ill young man, his foster sister, and multiple pig heads.

A disturbing reflection on the effects of childhood trauma and abuse. The characters are very well written with a distinct voice, although I felt some of them needed a little more screen time.

The central theme of the story is an exploration of the struggles with the battle to show love and compassion towards someone that has caused pain and suffering, but also wanting to move on and recover. It does this very well, with sensitivity, but doesn’t pull its punches. Great tension building, uncomfortable to read in parts.

Book LinksGoodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

Title Hello, Old Friend
Author Elizabeth Bedlam
Genre Dark Comedy, Occult Horror
Format Kindle
Page Length 68
Publication Date 26 Aug 2020
Publisher Self Published
Read Date Feb 2021

Eve looked out the window. She wondered, why did she continue to come here? All the while her doctor drolled on and on about her goals for the week. Her depression lingered over her entire life, like a swarm of flies. Constantly ticking and buzzing in her ears, crawling over her skin, biting her where she couldn’t reach. She thought once she stopped taking chemical medication and moved on to talk therapy things would improve, so far they remained about the same. She just had more homework assignments…

Plagued by irrational fears, anxiety, and depression; Eve, a mentally ill eccentric, turns to Dr. Eustace Gish, in hopes of navigating her inner wounds and reuniting her fractured self. She follows his program, a series of six esoteric self-help discs that are designed to help those struggling to ascend to their higher selves.

Writers writing about writers. This is one of the good ones, though. As I’m sure many others could, I saw a lot of myself in this story, in the protag, Eve, and the way she thought about storytelling. No story is original, even our own.

I enjoyed the creativity shown in this story. What starts off as relatively indulgent and desolate moods quickly grow to very well written, snarky meta humour, that takes a pop at the cult of ‘think yourself better’. It’s thoroughly entertaining and littered with wtf moments throughout.

Book LinksGoodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

Both of these stories deal with sombre and possibly difficult topics such as poor mental health, childhood abuse, and the struggle for those that live on the outside. I really like how Bedlam deals with them head on, yet in a sensitive manner. Hog Head is straight up vile horror, whereas Hello, Old Friend is of a lighter tone. Both executed very well. I will deffo be reading more from Bedlam, and from the looks of it she is prolific so there is plenty to choose from. A happy discovery of a new to me storyteller.

Anyway, I’m off to watch some self help DVDs. Until next time, peace and love!

Jack CJ Stark
Amazon Author Page

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