I’ve read one or two of Koontz’s books before this one. They were okay, well written, but the subjects typically didn’t really fall into my zone of interest. When my husband recommended I read Odd Thomas because he loved the main character, I balked at first. It wasn’t in the romance genre that I could tell from the back cover. There were no vampires or shifters. What would I find to like about this book?
Before I’d finished the first page, I understood the draw to this story. Odd Thomas is one of those characters that immediately made me like him, pull for him and flip pages madly to find out how his story would end.
The blurb is lengthy, so I won’t post it here. If you’d like to read it, click here.
Odd Thomas is a lowly fry cook and proud of it. He also sees dead people, though they don’t speak to him. Through some supernatural talent, he somehow understands them, helps them make peace with their deaths, and sometimes they help him save the world. He lives above someone’s garage, where his only companion is a cardboard cutout of Elvis.
The first thing that struck me about Odd was that he takes everything in stride. His unusual name (which has a great story attached to it, btw), his gift, the dreams, and the fact that his neighbor asks him to come and see her every morning to ensure the old woman she didn’t disappear the night before. It’s all normal to him, and as he’s telling his story, I came to think of it as normal, too.
Here are the first few paragraphs of the book. They pretty much sum up Odd Thomas:
My name is Odd Thomas, though in this age when fame is the altar at which most people worship, I am not sure why you should care who I am or that I exist. I am not a celebrity. I am not the child of a celebrity. I have never been married to, never been abused by, and never provided a kidney for transplantation into any celebrity. Furthermore, I have no desire to be a celebrity.
In fact I am such a nonentity by the standards of our culture that People magazine not only will never feature a piece about me but might also reject my attempts to subscribe to their publication on the grounds that the black hole gravity of my noncelebrity is powerful enough to suck their entire enterprise into oblivion.
Another of the traits I love about Odd Thomas is the fierceness with which he loves his girlfriend, Stormy Llewellyn.
Stormy Llewellyn and I are more than friends. We believe that we are soul mates. For one thing, we have a card from a carnival fortune-telling machine that says we’re destined to be together forever. We also have matching birthmarks.
Card and birthmarks aside, I love her intensely. I would throw myself off a high cliff for her if she asked me to jump. I would, of course, need to understand the reasoning behind her request.
Fortunately for me, Stormy is not the kind of person to ask such a thing lightly. She expects nothing of others that she herself would not do. In treacherous currents, she is kept steady by a moral anchor the size of a ship.
Although Odd takes everything in stride, he still feels deeply and made me feel it right along with him. He’s real to me. His story made me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. Although I read the book several years ago, I still think about Odd now and then. If you like quirky characters with unique voices, you will love this book.
Who is your favorite character of all time?