Sunday, November 30, 2014

My GoodReads review of Odd Thomas, by Dean Koontz

 1 Star, because negative ten stars isn't available yet.

 Odd Thomas, or: The Village Idiot has an adventure. 

Odd loves A Girl. She's as sweet as sugar; she even works in an ice cream shop, that's how sweet she is. She has an ice cream shop uniform. Do you see how sweet?? Village Idiot and The Girl love each other so much they don't even need to have sex. They just rub their noses together like sweet, platonic puppies. They are sweeties.

Some things happen. Village Idiot/Odd thinks about pancakes many times. They are a symbol of something, or maybe not. Odd has a pretty good vocab for a fry cook. He is full of words and pancakes. He is here to feed you and save you. It turns out the Village Idiot is actually IHOP Jesus.

Nothing much happens. Then a weird, kind of interesting thing happens, and you think, hey, something's happening... but then it doesn't mean anything or lead anywhere. 

The thing that almost happened felt like this:

---Pretend you're sitting in, say, an ice cream shop. You're reading a terrible magazine while you eat your cone. The magazine is one of the awful, gossipy celebrity ones with horoscopes in the back written by honest-to-goodness psychics. There's a huge list of a hundred different flavors of ice cream on the shop wall, but they're out of everything but vanilla. The cashier is worried but you tell them vanilla is fine. A monster walks into the shop, grabs your magazine, and turns to order some of that sweet ice cream for himself. Before the monster can finish ordering, the cashier executes a perfect swan dive into the napkin dispenser. "Did you see that?" the monster asks you. "Look at this picture of Helen Mirren swimming in pancake batter," you say to the monster. "That's a crazy picture," the monster agrees. "Do you know where the Apple store is?" it asks you. "I meant to go there and I ended up here." The monster leaves and you sit at the table until the store closes.---

This book is the WORST. If I'd written Odd Thomas, my character would have jumped up and followed that monster to the ends of the earth. Because monsters are cool and interesting and weird and ice cream shops finally got awesome. But Dean Koontz won't allow anything or anyone to be more interesting than Odd. Odd is the star of the show. Except he's not a star and there is no show. 

Odd visits his parents. They are Fucked Up Like Dammit. Odd is a good person. He is better than them. He will use his powers for Good. If his parents had his powers? Odd just KNOWS they'd write horoscopes in the back of trashy magazines and swim in batter-filled pools. 

Odd isn't loved by Mom and Dad. But that's ok. The WHOLE TOWN loves Odd. Town love is better than parent love. Town love is quirky. Town love is sweet. The town and Odd rub their noses together like sweet, happy puppies. Odd loves everyone except killers and book critics. Odd doesn't write books, he makes pancakes. But Odd has Opinions about critics. They're jerks. They're such jerks that Odd thinks about them all through the book. That's how bad critics are: they even upset fictional makers of pancakes. Luckily for his disciples, IHOP Jesus isn't listening to critics. He's building his cash cow, whoops I meant he's building his kingdom in heaven.

Then a thing at the end happens. It wasn't the thing you thought would happen. You thought another type of thing would happen but this isn't that kind of book. "Don't worry about all that," murmurs Dean Koontz. You stare in horror as Koontz leans into the book to rub his nose, Eskimo-style, with Odd. "You're an amazing writer,"Odd chirps, in his quirky, lovable way. "No, YOU'RE amazing," gushes Koontz, "I know what I need to do now," says Odd. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" asks Koontz. "Forty book series," they whisper together. "BFF's forever." There's a roar of applause from the crowd.