Today I planned to drive up to Salinas to have Meg Ryan put some finishing touches on a dress she made for me, only the zipper didn’t come in, and she couldn’t finish the dress. So I stayed home and finished Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. Am I the only one who hadn’t read the 2003 novel about the MAN who saw dead people? I’m not a big fan of supernatural books, but I can’t resist Koontz even if I am 11 years late.
What I loved about this book were his descriptions.
For example, I would never have written this memoir if I had not been commanded to do so by a four hundred-pound man with six fingers on his left hand.
What better reason to write? When I get back to Girls on Fire, that is my first order of business – to try to describe. The first problem with that is that I am not observant. Another problem is that I don’t remember much of what little I see. In addition to that, I struggle to figure out how to string together simple words, like “twinkly-eyed smile”, let alone remember to use words like rubescent. Here is a fitting description that 36 highlighters noted.
At sixty-three, having added a few pounds, having acquired the seams and crinkles of seasoning experience, she possessed the deeper beauty of the beatified: the sweet humility and tenderness that time can teach, the appealing glow of care and character …
Since tomorrow is my sixty-third birthday, I can quit worrying about the five pounds I gained in Hawaii, and the ten I gained over the summer before I even got to Hawaii. I can enjoy the seams and crinkles seasoning my experienced life, and waft gently in the appealing glow of my humble and tender character that is rapidly developing deeper inside my beatified body.
Odd Thomas lived in Pico Mundo, CA, located in the heart of the Mojave.
Pico Mundo is not a skyscraper town.
Isn’t that a classic understated sentence? He follows that by a short description of the weather.
The Mojave sun is not a timid little Boston sun or even a don’t-worry-be-happy Caribbean sun. The Mojave sun is a fierce, aggressive beast that isn’t going to be intimidated by the shadows of five-story apartment buildings.
Instead of saying, “I was so scared I could hardly walk,” Koontz wrote,
As if magic suddenly overruled physics, the moonlight seemed to acquire weight. I felt the burden of that lunar radiance with every step.
How do I learn to even think like that? The moon never did anything so dramatic to me. Characters in his book didn’t escape his metaphorical scalpel.
He psychological engine didn’t have a go-easy gear. “Well, damn it, he’s such a freak.” (describing the protagonist standing right next to her.)
I’ve know people like that who say whatever pops into their brain no matter who is listening, but I never attributed it to anything but their weak frontal lobe. I guess I needed to listen to more “Car Talk” to get the gear connections. By the way speaking of popping into one’s mind, I am so sad that the Car Talk guy, Tom Magliozzi, passed away.
Girls on Fire has me leashed to my work-ethic upbringing, but after that, unless, my brain kicks into overdrive, I’m sticking to non-fiction. One last post-mortem, unrelated ramble before I close this high recommendation for Odd Thomas.
Twenty years ago today, my two best friends in the world, Jean and Darlene, helped me through the last day of my first husband, Mark’s, life. I seldom talk about him, though we were married for just over twenty years. He was a good man who endured much with few words of complaint. He had a great sense of humor, read voraciously and could tell the funniest story with a laser-straight face. We moved to California so he could pastor the Ivanhoe Church of the Nazarene, and I’ve never regretted that decision. I was proud of who he was. I dedicate this review to Mark Alvord, he would have loved the book.