Both give reasons for the stalker to kill her. This story is as much Josh’s as it is the narrators. This infuriated the stalker, whom proceeded to murder her by chopping her up into pieces. Pointing this out in case anyone feels the stalker was duped/fooled into being placated. On September 30, 2020 By BookishKash In Book Reviews. 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. Bloody Good Writing Volume 2: Does Sex Sell? Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies. When she runs through the home to walk along the front lawn as the narrator goes home, I think it’s a protective gesture. Had to google whether or not it was a true story haha. Book: Penpal. Reading the comments on it, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who didn’t immediately “get it”. I don’t find the absence of her own two children odd at all. As for the police report with Joshua as the name, that is his friend Josh’s full given birth name. 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). Not me. Constantly seeking adventure, always teetering on the brink of defiance, but undeniably kind and attentive, it’s easy to attach yourself to the exploits of this character – that possesses traits that actually remind me a bit of myself as a boy – both as an innocent kindergartener as well as maturing teenager. 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. 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I felt like the stalker might have ended up being Mrs. Maggie’s son, but it was never cleared up. It’s interesting that the narrator has a cat for a pet. While Maggie may not be “all there”, her presence does seem to protect the narrator and Josh. 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). I love this site because they ask you really detailed questions about your interests and the top countries you are interested in so they can match you up with the best pen pal for you. Your review took the words right out of my mouth, expect you were much more coherent and eloquent than I would have been. Maggie confuses the boys for her two sons (who are, obviously, brothers). The fact that the narrator is only around six years old for the majority of the novel is compelling. In keeping with my comments above, Let me further ask: How does what happened to Veronica’John’s Mom resemble what happened to Ms. Maggie? This makes Maggie’s loneliness and memory issues more realistic (I thought). He took refuge in her home and, since she had Alzheimer’s, she thought he was one of her sons. If I say something that sounds wrong or incorrect, that is probably why. The stories were adapted for The NoSleep Podcast's debut season in 2011 and narrated by Sammy Raynor. How such an altercation would have ended, it’s hard to say. Absolutely loved it! I’ve also been continuing thinking on this and does any one have any ideas as to why Josh’s sister was killed? I don’t know about the book, but the Reddit version was awesome. Why didn’t he pursue him? In that capacity, Boxes, like Maggie, “witnesses” the PP. In fact, I assumed that the book would be a series of unrelated, short stories and started to read it as such. After checking out a few of the reviews I’ve posted here on, Dathan reached out to me with a personal request: would I be willing to give his novel, Penpal a look and, possibly a review? Also, I noticed on the police report on the last page that it has the name “Joshua” in the top section. 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. This is an eerie tale that pits pure evil against genuine innocence. 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. This is a hauntingly rewarding novel that I’ll read again in the future. 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. You will never, I repeat NEVER, find anything worthwhile on it. His every appearance brings out the best in the narrator. Since Maggie frequently refers to the boys by her sons’ names, it makes sense that she’d refer to any grown man who approached her by her late husbands name. In general, the faults of Penpal are minimal. Book Review: Penpal by Dathan Auerbach. Just, to me, choosing to be buried alive with Josh for no apparent reason seems… pointless. Josh is (of course) the most significant character in the whole of these stories. Additionally, I don’t really get the “You Left” comment by Josh. He proves himself time and time again to be a sacrificial and loyal friend. However, if Auerbach did want to take this route, he should’ve removed the Josh’s father (although I guess he needed him to bury and find his son) because the narrator didn’t have a present father. I just finished it and I have some nagging questions that maybe another reader picked up on! It’s not a short story, but it’s not really a long one, either. He would only show the name Joshua on there for the fact that joshua was talked about and a known character in the story. Have you looked into the interview I conducted with him? And i thought it really happened to narrator’s bestfriend!!! review. Awesome guy. Em is a twelve-year-old girl in a floating community off the Gulf Coast. A lot of fans wonder why the PP kept not going through with his kidnapping attempts until this point. If he mutilated them enough, the police wouldn’t bother sorting them out from any animal corpses that may have been in the house. She may have abducted two boys for an extended period of time, naming them Chris and John once they were held captive. But maybe she thought her son was her husband because of the age (due to her Alzheimer’s). And while individually the chapters are creepy and unsettling, the novel as a whole falls a little flat. hey guys, asked Dathan about this specific detail, and here’s what he told me: “think that might spoil some of the fun, man! On a less frustrated note, thank you Matt. The first edition of the novel was published in June 2012, and was written by Dathan Auerbach. I spent a lot of time thinking about Ms. Maggie and her demise. Because of how close the narrator and Josh are, we can assume that the PP knows Josh just as well as he does the narrator. The loose strings are for the most part tied by the final pages, save for one detail that still has me scratching my head a bit: what is the relevance of Veronica’s (Josh’s sister) position (which isn’t bestowed any focus until the story has just about wrapped) and fate in context of the grand tale, and what’s the story behind the enigmatic automobile? 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. There are clues about each, loud hints, and in Samantha’s case, logical threads, but no satisfactory “aha!” moments. Anytime an author casts a child aside, thrown to the jowls of a man-eater, the fear takes on a tangible nature. The walkie-talkie under the bed belonged to the narrator. Did he know himeself? Obsession- particularly pedophiliac sexual obsession, is something that builds over time. When the boys sneak out onto the lake in “Maps”, I suspect Maggie appears on the porch when she hears the commotion out on the lake. It seemed like a pretty important part of the story since they talked so much about her there for a while. The primary meat of the story is preceded by a strange, obviously tacked-on introduction where the narrator explains why there might be discrepancies. The details are at times a tad vague, which admittedly leads to some quizzical conjecture (why is our antagonist so obsessed with photography, especially when he’s taken up residence in such close proximity of his desired target? But the promise isn’t kept. The point of the eerie car is the fact that it is omenous and befitting for the creepy penpal. As I sit awake at 1am trying to put the pieces together! Boxes darting out the door is also heroic in it’s own way. 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