Ms. Maggie has alzheimers and was getting close to the victim/lived near him, so the killer manipulated her fragile mind into thinking he was her late husband and took up home in her house so he could be close to the narrator. If she sometimes mistakes him for Chris or John, why wouldn’t she want either of them to visit him? When she runs through the home to walk along the front lawn as the narrator goes home, I think it’s a protective gesture. The theory that I came up with is that the stalker had noticed how Ms. Maggie always invited the narrator and Josh into her house for some snacks; that the boys would dock near her house and would have to return to that house in order to get home. I’ve only read the online version, but it sounds like the author did a lot of cleanup and hole patching for the book version. Had to google whether or not it was a true story haha. Some have speculated that it wasn’t Maggie but the PP following the narrator, but I don’t think so. Just read the novel. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. The two are inseparable throughout the bulk of the book. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. It was then picked up and recorded in audio form by the award-winning Nosleep podcast. The PP, who is likely enraged by a foiled attempt to engage with the narrator, and probably not wanting any witnesses, kills Maggie and leaves her body in the house to be discovered by the stench. Given the short nature of the story (252 pages) and the multitudes of praise (123 reviews at the moment and a five-star rating) I … He was disturbed enough by their experience in the narrator’s abandoned house that the friendship atrophied. It’s not a short story, but it’s not really a long one, either. Overall, this book was definitely creepy and I really enjoyed it even though there were some leftover questions that could’ve been answered. In “Boxes” when the boys go to the narrator’s old home, it is Josh who safely secures the narrator under the house while he goes inside the abandoned home. A lot of fans wonder why the PP kept not going through with his kidnapping attempts until this point. Otherwise, it would be odd for PP, who up until this point has not been shown as having any significant means of transport, would show up in a car on the correct road. But the promise isn’t kept. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Good interpretation and thanks for pointing it out to those who hadn’t worked it out yet. Has it really been almost two months since my last book review? Children this age are largely innocent, and will generally accept any explanation from an adult. Maybe the creepy stuff in the beginning was actually Josh (misspelled name on the note) and he brought Alex along afterwards. A dog would bark at an intruder coming into the house and with a dog barking, the mother would have woken up to catch PP removing her son from his bed. Implied that the stalker has infiltrated the house. Josh was there when he got the “For Stamps” Dollar back, when they got their pictures taken in the woods, when he released the balloon and what he wrote on the dollar, etc.”. Hello and welcome to the review of Pen Pal Book: the newsletter.Here's the basic information that I came across to: PenPal Book, Issue 29 "It is hard to find people who still like to do snail mail, so I have a newsletter I send out in January, April, July & Oct. The two are one in the same. I am pretty sure it said something to the effect of more than one body bag being removed from her home. It seemed like a pretty important part of the story since they talked so much about her there for a while. In “Balloons” when an unnamed man returns to the snow-cone stand three times (I’m assuming the mysterious man is the PP), it is Josh who receives the “FOR STAMPS” dollar and gives it to the narrator. I have the same question as Jade. Book Reviews: Horror Penpal by Dathan Auerbach. Pen Pal - noun - a person you come to know by frequent friendly correspondence. Makes you think “how often do I actually check down there?”. I will say that I did not read any reviews before picking up the book because I trusted my coworker on his suggestion and the book was so cheap (Kindle version is $4.99!) I wish Auerbach had made a clearer connection to Mrs. Maggie rather than just having her sons look like Josh and the narrator. Wouldn’t be all that unusual. Josh is alone inside the abandoned house when he first sees the PP and begins to comprehend the danger there. When the narrator leaves the presence of Maggie’s house, it is Josh who lets him into the house (almost as if the two are “changing guard” over the narrator). The narrator doesn’t state that he noticed a difference in stride of footfall of the person walking behind him- Something that he would have given that the PP is a large man (possibly wearing shoes) and Maggie is a small, frail, barefoot woman. I love the fact that Auerbach keeps it nebulous. Mothers may have been less hyper-vigilant in the ’80’s but they weren’t that nonchalant. Ranking Every Stephen King Novel, From Worst to First! You’re in, you’re scared, you’re out. I think there are a lot of holes in that theory, but there is a lot of merit to it as well…. He frequently heads straight under the house, which is what eventually alerts the narrator’s mother to the fact that the PP has been camping out under there. Josh then sees the PP (a death sentence throughout the stories) and is photographed by him. I have soo many questions that are nagging me. However, a six-year old boy also has limitations, which Auerbach occasionally forgets. Book Review: PenPal. Bloody Good Writing Volume 2: Does Sex Sell? I’m not sure I can fully get on board with the theory of Miss Maggie being a killer also back in the day but find your theory interesting. I’m going to read this AGAIN! She could have had a split personality due to her age, which could explain why she seemed to act cold to the narrator that night until she entered her Alzheimer’s stage. Plot feels contrived; somewhere between a genuinely scary story and its lampoon for entertainment’s sake. . You’ll likely guess, based upon the novel’s title alone, that this story focuses on a “penpal” who isn’t exactly… normal. Thanks for posting your ideas!! My decision to examine Auerbach’s inaugural effort proved not only time worthy, but insanely fruitful. June 28, 2017 July 5, 2017 In My Humble Opinion: Book Reviews With Syd. ( Log Out /  Speaking of unsupervised, the time period is obviously meant to reflect those glory days of “free-range” childhood, but I’m pretty sure no child of that age would be allowed the freedom of this kid. Also, I noticed on the police report on the last page that it has the name “Joshua” in the top section. This book… I will say that I did not read any reviews before picking up the book because I trusted my coworker on his suggestion and the book was so cheap (Kindle version is $4.99!) If I say something that sounds wrong or incorrect, that is probably why. Book Review: Penpal. 5 Horror Authors You Have to Read and Follow in 2016! It makes combing through the book tiring and irritating, not a juicy, edge -of-your-seat hunt to pin down the last clue. Reading the comments on it, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who didn’t immediately “get it”. That’s the best way to describe this book. I still don’t know how the Mrs Maggie stuff fits in to the larger picture (maybe her sons were killed by the same guy) but I was thinking Josh and the fat kid Alex (who had a crush on Veronica) would have had motive to at least run her over and destroy that relationship. In fact, I assumed that the book would be a series of unrelated, short stories and started to read it as such. How such an altercation would have ended, it’s hard to say. Since her husband died during a night run, it’s possible she is confused by the PP coming out of the woods at night and possibly believes that he really is “Tom” at first. In fact, this distance-writer is a twisted individual with an unexplained yet potentially fatal obsession. ... - Dave Lews, teacher review… Book: Penpal. Very mediocre. It might still be purchased for chemists or hobbyists, or in a specialized medical environment. . ( Log Out /  ... All nit-picking aside, if you love scary stories, you need to read this book. I just am an answers type person and am always looking for the reasoning and why things happened. Our mysterious antagonist is quiet, nearly invisible to suspecting eyes, completely discreet and surprisingly savvy. Maggie confuses the boys for her two sons (who are, obviously, brothers). My guess is PP was the girl the narrator’s friend, Chris, was talking to online. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. If not, maybe he was trying to be so clever the book would be discussed endlessly, and in that he was right that it would be analyzed more. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Since the PP signed “See you soon”, I wonder what part Josh played in keeping his friend alive and if his death in the narrators place was intentional. When the narrator confronts him for being a “bad friend” (something that is even more painful when it’s revealed what happens to Josh later) Josh responds quietly “You left” – implying that the PP has sense refocused his attention onto Josh. Food for thought. P.S. it does not mean that Joshua was the victim. All of this is pretty solvable by book’s end, though we’re not given much satisfaction of certainty about many of the answers, and a few–not just 2, actually, as I mistakenly said above–but form answers about the roles of Alex, Chris and hos family, Claire, and Samantha (who, actually, was a THIRD nurse). We know that the stalker tried to make Josh seem like the narrator by dyeing his hair and turning his attention to him when the narrator became unavailable. Joshua and his friend Josh? A man is haunted by the events of his childhood and trying to understand a past he hasn’t been able to fully grasp until now. That's it. ( Log Out /  Mybesthorrorbooks.com review. it’s definitely a winner, and I can’t even accurately pin point every element that REALLY succeeds. Dathan’s mom says to Dathan that if someone did move in with the old lady, that she was delusional enough to think that it is her dead husband; Tom. On September 30, 2020 By BookishKash In Book Reviews. , Joshua isn’t the narrator’s name. I also think Auerbach tries so hard to lead us astray in the end scene that he really is cheating. Jonathan Maberry, Ramsey Campbell and 16 Other Amazing Horror Authors Tell Us What Books Terrify Them! What a delight to see all the discussion here and have it be as recent as the end of 2015, I loved this story and am very happy to know people are still picking it up and reading it. (It reeked of death, so it must have been more than just one old lady. Blog at WordPress.com. “Yeah I got the feeling that the stalker was Mrs. Maggie’s son,”. She got info from him about what the narrator was doing and why. Most of my students were incapable of tying their shoes on a regular basis, and became frustrated trying follow Lego instructions. I kind of had that feeling that Dathan wanted to leave it open to interpretation. . 9 reviews for penpalsnow, 2.1 stars: 'This site is wall-to-wall fakes and con merchants, with the owners accepting uncritically ANY poison levelled at decent users while the fakes and weirdos get royal treatment. ( Log Out /  Fans of creepypastas and urban legends will love this. Here is a thought: Do we think the PP is Alex? And like Boxes and Maggie (but on a much larger scale) his presence in the narrator’s life is a protective one. Copyright © 2021 PENpal Products & Value Packs PENpal Basics: How to use the Recorder Pen Books Guaranteed to Work With PENpal Using PENpal To Foster ELL Oral Language Development. No, there’s a far more sinister plan being birthed for our story’s young target (who, unless I somehow missed it goes unnamed throughout the tale), and lifelong longevity definitely doesn’t fit into the equation. PENpal Audio Recorder Pen Tap and listen to talking books, posters & voice recordable labels. Fear of going through with his obsession was possibly a motivator (also, he probably didn’t have such a strong conviction to kidnap by this point. There is a lot of confusion as to why the PP suddenly switches focus from the narrator to Josh (presumably at the end of “Boxes”). He would only show the name Joshua on there for the fact that joshua was talked about and a known character in the story. I do however like your idea of the night the narrator wanted to go in. My biggest remaining question is the ending. Absolutely loved it! Adding onto the Ms. Maggie is a sexual predator theory, maybe she kept those boys trapped in her house. Short, but scary. If he mutilated them enough, the police wouldn’t bother sorting them out from any animal corpses that may have been in the house. When the narrator asks to come inside, I imagine her protectiveness of him takes over and she says no. The cat, I think, plays a much more important role in diverting the PP then we’re lead to believe. There are clues about each, loud hints, and in Samantha’s case, logical threads, but no satisfactory “aha!” moments. When Miss Maggie said “Tom is Home” I took it as the killer had seen she was getting close to the narrator. Penpal began as a series of short and interconnected stories posted on an online horror forum. I felt that the whole “Tom’s home!” thing was her confusing the stalker for Tom. There was a theory floating around that she was somehow related- or otherwise connected to- the PP, but I highly doubt it. Five Reasons Drunks Will Always Survive Horror Stories. And she often sits on the porch while the boys are in the lake (something I thought was a very watchful and maternal gesture, possibly something she did with her own children). Why were they briefly separated? Also consider John Wayne Gacy (Gacey?). He “was bigger than most of the other kids in any grade,” was briefly close the the narrator but failed to make a connection, was obsessed with Veronica, and had good reasons for hating Josh. Let's see, I published my first novella Hushed, a prequel to the Hushed Horror Thriller series, and my second novel, Whispering. He eventually kills her, and she is chopped up hence the multiple bags. She now knows what the PP looks like, and this is significant to what happens next. Throughout the story the message is clear: the boys are always safe when they are together (notice that neither experiences sleeping problems when they spend the night together). Really late response lol, but the “Penpal” killed Miss Maggie. I don’t think it burns the skin the way chloroform does, but maybe with long or repeat exposure…? Pen Pal book. Unfortunately, this becomes the main problem with Penpal. First off, our story isn’t told in what could be labeled proper chronological order. Told from a first person point of view, readers get a great chance to climb inside the mind of a boy, transitioning from toys to romance; bikes to automobiles… a boy becoming a young man, quite simply. Because I just read that he heard Boxes through the Walky-talky, and that’s it. not a problem at all Dathan is a REALLY good guy, and very warm with fans and critics alike. This horror novel is about creepy occurrences in the narrators childhood, being told by the author as an … I’ve also been continuing thinking on this and does any one have any ideas as to why Josh’s sister was killed? It was phased out in the late 60’s, well before the Internet and cell phones. When the PP takes Veronica’s phone and carries out a series of text conversations with the narrator, it’s implied that Josh is killed soon after. I’ve heard the extremely prolific Dean Koontz, author of roughly 100 works (plenty of which were number one sellers) of fiction, bashed to hell and back over the last few, View Horror Novel Reviews’s profile on Facebook, View HorrorNovelRevs’s profile on Twitter, Thrift Store Finds: Save the Last Dance for Me, When in Paris, Revisit Gaston Leroux’s Timeless Masterpiece ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, Interview: Jack Ketchum Talks Horror Roots and New Book ‘The Secret Life of Souls’, 5 Horror Novels That Deserve a Video Game Adaptation. In Penpal, a man investigates the seemingly unrelated bizarre, The key phrase here is this: Josh is present. You will never, I repeat NEVER, find anything worthwhile on it. 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