Hi everyone, welcome.
Today I review ALL SMILES UNTIL I RETURN by Aron Beauregard.
I found Aron Beauregard compliments of Twitter. Some of you might read this review because of Twitter. So kudos to Twitter for the connects.
Prior to seeing the stuff Aron writes, I’d never understood what splatterpunk was. I didn’t even know it was a sub-genre of horror. I thought it seemed like some version of steampunk and I’ve never been attracted to steampunk.
I was wrong.
Splatterpunk is sorta what we might expect in a slasher. Or the SAW movies. I suppose I could give a definition, but eh- it’s all about gore, violence, and disturbing imagery. I’m glad I found splatterpunk- and I’m grateful that I found Aron Beauregard’s stories.
WARNING: SPOILERS LURK AHEAD
In a nutshell, ALL SMILES UNTIL I RETURN is seen through the eyes of Andy, a corporate office employee. Soon after being called in for a review of the employees, one of the workers (Phillip) pulls out firearms and begins killing his co-workers. Andy is murdered because he tries to save one of his co-workers (Janie Watson) whom he’s always secretly admired from afar.
Andy wakes up in what would seem to be Hell, but it’s not quite Hell, if there even is such a place. Phillip is also in this existence, and so is Janie.
This place is now their reality. There is no escaping the pain and pleasure. But here’s what I love about this novel… If you’re with someone whom you love, even in Hell, for eternity, would it really be all that bad?
Andy and Janie love each other. Equally love each other. And they did in the previous life, when they were alive. But reality kept them fantasies in one another’s mind.
In this hellish landscape they now exist, they have each other. If they can escape and return to the living, then… Well, wait a minute.
Andy wins the “lottery”. And you know what happens? He comes back to life as a newborn baby. And he tries to remember to kill himself as quick as he’s able to in his new little baby body…But he forgets. And the ending is what I really want to talk about.
baby child version of Andy finds a stuffed animal. Then sees the tv on. The tv is showing a show with kids playing together. And uniting, so happy. And in this new mind, Andy thinks, “that’s so awesome. I can’t wait to be like that. That is what it’s all about, coming together and being happy”.
The sad thing is, I was also this way as a child. I remember watching Barney, and thinking how nice it all seemed. The kids were friends, and it looked great. The problem is, reality isn’t like this. I remember the juxtaposition between fantasy, and reality, how reality was depressing, nothing like the fantasy on the television. The tv lied to me.
I guess I see that, who knows what the point of this life is. As a writer, I only hope that my work will influence others in a positive way. But who the fuck really knows- to tell ya the truth, I don’t think any one of us has a supreme, omnipotent response.
All I know is I feel like Andy sometimes. It feels like I’m out of place in this world. That no matter how hard I try to fit in, I don’t fit anywhere. And if I sometimes think, “if only”.
I’ve basically resigned from trying to fit in, and I’m writing what I feel I’m able to. I wanted to begin dialogue with readers, so that maybe authors such as Aron Beauregard can make a positive impact in your life, like he has for me.
Aron’s work is often gruesome and twisted, but if you peel back his layers, he’s one philosophical dude. I personally think he’s one of the best storytellers I’ve read in some time. He poses questions for us to consider, that, are intriguing, and worth mulling over in the brain. Aron is original without a doubt, and a brilliant minded writer of prose. Even though this story of his, ALL SMILES UNTIL I RETURN, made me cry, I love it.
I think we’d all like to pretend knowing what life means would make a difference somehow. You know what I think? I think, embrace the unexpected. Go with the flow, in the sense that, you never know how the world will flow, but go with it. Andy went with the flow of Hell, because he was with the person he loved and adored the most, and she with him.
Hang in there. I can’t give you a reason to hang in, but I can say this- The Unexpected Journey. A unexpected journey awaits. Be patient if possible, if not- I dunno, don’t be patient I guess. But I think, if we seek meaning, and purpose, unexpectedly, we might find it in this life. We may also not find any meaning. I’ve heard from someone once that nothing in this life is guaranteed to us.
And hey, if not in this life, maybe in the next. But please, wait until that time comes. Let death also be unexpected. Suicide is not the answer. It’s just not worth it. Remember that fiction is different from reality, as shitty as reality can be sometimes, we should read fiction to help make our way through the pain of reality.
I hope I did justice to Aron his character Andy. I give ALL SMILES UNTIL I RETURN a 10 out of 10. abhorror.com will allow you to purchase directly from Aron. He signs the book, and throws in cool swag with the book. Please support authors you enjoy by buying from their website.