The Thing Under Your Bed by Stephen Kozeniewski

The Thing Under Your Bed by Stephen Kozeniewski
Publisher: French Press Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

There’s something under your bed.

It hates you. It wants to devour you and everyone you love.

Dad’s at work. Mom’s dead drunk and no help whatsoever.

Maybe your stuffed rabbit can help, since he seems to be alive and talking now. Then again, maybe that just means you’ve finally gone around the bend.

Whatever plan you come up with to survive the night, though, you’d better not let so much as a fingertip stray off your mattress. If you do, you’ll be ripped to bloody chunks by…


Fairy tales might not be pure fiction after all.

Childhood can be frightening for all sorts of different reasons. Ordinary things that make perfect sense to adults can feel terribly random and nonsensical to a kid. The fact that this particular little girl was also growing up with an abusive, alcoholic mother only deepened her confusion about how adults are supposed to behave and what rules someone should follow to stay safe. Some of my favorite scenes were the ones that explored the many types of fears kids can have, from the mundane ones about odd noises in the middle of the night to far more terrifying and dangerous ones.

This novella sometimes felt like it was written for adults but at other times seemed like it was intended for a much younger audience. I found myself wishing that the author would more fully commit himself to one of these audiences as this was far too gory for kids but also had a fairytale-like quality to the conflict and plot development that many children would find appealing if they didn’t know what they were getting into. Part of this was due to how young the unnamed protagonist was, of course, but I would have gone with a full five-star rating if the age group this was written for was clearer.

The narrator spent a great deal of time playing around with the idea that what she was experiencing may or may not have been real. For example, think of the sensation of waking up from a nightmare and not being alert enough yet to tell where bad dreams end and real life begins. This was one of several ways Mr. Kozeniewski challenged the readers’ assumptions about what was really happening and who should or should not be trusted as new plot twists were revealed. I enjoyed the process of testing out various theories as I waited to discover what would happen next.

The Thing Under Your Bed was deliciously scary.