Jan 3, 2012

Review: One Door Away From Heaven

 My first finished book of the New Year: One Door Away from Heaven by Dean Koontz. Yay, reading! I've only ever read one book by Koontz before (Dark Rivers of the Heart) and I really enjoyed it, so I was excited to start this book.

At the beginning, I loved this book. There were all these complex stories that didn't seem to fit together in any way. I was so excited to see where they would take me and how they would all come together at the end. Then it got weird. At first it was just eyebrow raising weird, but then it got really weird and the ending was disappointing. And weird. I'm not sure I liked it. I didn't hate it, but...it was just strange.

The parts about Leilani, her drugged out mother and her evil step-father - Dr. Doom were completely awesome. Leilani was born with one deformed arm and leg, and needs to use a leg brace. Her mother did too many drugs during pregnancy, and still does too many now. At nine, she is mature beyond her years, due to a terrible upbringing and psychological abuse. He step-father is a charismatic serial killer who hates the disabled and believes they should all be exterminated. I got to learn a little about the terrible side of bioethics. Their stories were horrifying, sad and evil. She confides all of this in her neighbours, Michelina Bellsong and her Aunt Geneva. I loved Micky Bellsong and Aunt Gen - with her almond cookies made with pecans and her vanilla coke made with cherry syrup. They have their own set of twisted pasts and problems, but they are completely taken in by this young girl and want desperately to help her. The bulk of the story centered around this group of characters, which is what made it a story worth reading. Their stories are complex and interesting, and I wanted to read more. In fact, if you took everything else out of the book, and just kept this part of the story, this review would probably be a lot more positive, and less confusing. 

The story of Noah Farrell, the private investigator, was woefully under told. He, like most of the characters in the book, had a terrible past and a troubled present. He comes from a family of criminals and drug peddlers, grew up to be a cop (which didn't work out) and later a PI. I was really excited about this character, who had a lot of page time in the beginning, and then he just kind of disappeared. Nothing for chapters and chapters. He was brought in at the end, but he wasn't really necessary for the way the story unfolded. He had so much potential and it was wasted.

Then there was the story of little Curtis Hammond. It's his story that makes things weird and takes the book from good to meh. It starts off that he's a fugitive on the run, whose mother has just been killed. Sounds awesome, right? That's before things get weird. I'm not going to get too far into the weirdness, because it's a major spoiler. It's all over the internet anyway, so if you really want to know, check Wikipedia. Anyway, it gets weird, which kind-of but not exactly ruins everything. I mean, the book is still ok, but it could have been so much better.

Let's talk about the ending. Oh, the ending. It kind of felt like the Author was like, "Oh crap, I need to end this..." and then he did. The ending was truly bizarre but still managed to be dull and kind of...meh. Everyone lived happily ever after in camper vans with lots of dogs. It doesn't make a whole lot more sense, even if you'd read the book. When they needed money for this new lifestyle, he got a minor character that I'd forgotten all about to throw some money at them. The end.

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful, I would give this book a Just Ok. If you have some time to kill, and no other book to read, by all means, check it out. Like if you're stuck in an airport for eight hours or something. It's won't be a total waste of your time. But if you have something else to read, choose that instead. You wont be missing out on anything by skipping over this book. 


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