Book Review – Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Hello everyone,

I know it’s taken me FOREVER to read this book and I apologize. School has taken up much of my time. For my book reviews, I will follow a certain model as it is required in the syllabus for this project. So here we go.

Koontz, Dean. Odd Thomas. Bantam Publishing. 2003. 446 p. 0-663-58449-9.

Genre: Thriller/ Mystery

Summary and Analysis:

Odd Thomas tells the story of a twenty-year-old fry cook who can see the dead. The dead do not talk but Odd makes it his mission to find out why they are still lingering in his town of Pico Mundo. Some of the dead like Elvis Presley, apparently just like to stay around while others have ties to settle and they go to Odd for help. However, Odd can also see these shadowy figures called “bodachs” but these creatures tend to appear when death and destruction are near and they feed upon these things. Odd keeps these two abilities secret but only a select few know whom he trusts. One of them being his long-time girlfriend, Stormy Llewellyn, in which they are “destined to be together forever”. This is based on a carnival fortune-telling machine they received a card from telling them and confirming they are soulmates. But cards aside, their love for each other is true. One day while working at his diner, Odd sees a swarm of Bodachs surrounding this suspicious-looking man, who Odd nicknames “Fungus Man” and believes something terrible is about to happen. Soon Odd finds himself trying to prevent this terrible catastrophe that will happen the following day.

Since this novel follows Odd’s point of view, there is a part where you might consider him to be an unreliable narrator but he quickly backs this up. So trust in him and let him tell you his story. Now, this is the first novel of the Odd Thomas series but for an introduction to the series, this book does well to hold off on its own. It has a quick ending but it satisfies you as a reader, at least it did for me and I always detest when a novel leaves me unsatisfied. Throughout the novel, Odd introduces you to a multitude of characters so it might be a little difficult to follow. I loved Odd and Stormy’s relationship although it might sound a little far-fetched in the beginning but my favorite moments in the book was when he was describing how much he was in love with her. Odd is definitely a romantic.

Teaching Ideas:

This book is very well categorized as a New Adult book because I do not think it would be quite acceptable to be labeled as a YA novel. First, due to it’s pacing — I could see kids getting a bit bored and it references quite a lot of 80’s-90’s music and movies so kids might not be able to appreciate those. But if I were to teach this novel to possibly 11th or 12th-grade students (since it also has some mature themes, involving death and sex), they might enjoy it. Seeing that not many students would feel comfortable reading such topics, I would suggest reading Odd Thomas individually instead of as a whole class. One of the themes this novel brings up is “Good vs. Evil”. With someone like Odd Thomas who never asked for the gift of seeing bodachs or the dead, he still helps people and you quickly see where Odd places his values and morals. One of them being his hatred for guns (which reminded me of Batman) but this also stemmed from a childhood trauma which is also explained in the book. This novel is also seen as a memoir in Odd’s perspective so perhaps students can write a memoir of their own as an exercise. Shakespeare is also mentioned from time to time because a character close to Odd likes to reference him, so as a class we can decipher these quotes.

Overall, I’d rate Odd Thomas an 8/10. I first watched the movie a while ago since it starred Anton Yelchin and like the end of the movie (and now book), I was weeping. I won’t spoil anything but if you liked my review, please give Odd Thomas a shot! Thanks for reading!

 

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