This will likely contain many spoilers. Fuck it…I don’t think anyone really reads these anyway.
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t like Dean Koontz. I can read Stephen King until the fucking world ends but I can’t get into Koontz’s books. That being said…it literally took me a month to finish the 681 page One Door Away From Heaven. Not saying the page length is what took me so long, it was the story itself. Sometimes I would get captivated and interested only to be turned off by it three pages later. Sometimes I would just stare at the book sitting next to me and sigh. Finally I trudged through the last two hundred pages or so tonight. The book has its moments, particularly in periods of revelation but even those could appear preachy and unnecessary, almost like Koontz decided to hit us on the head with them.
I don’t even know how to go about discussing this book, there is just so much random shit. In essence it follows two main stories that eventually merge into one. The first story, while it involves central characters like Mickey (a beautiful recovering alcoholic), Aunt Gen (an older woman who was shot in the head and replaces memories with movies), Maddoc, and Sinsemilla, is really about Leilani. Leilani is a deformed girl (but way too intelligent 9 year old) with a drug crazed mother (who attacks her daughter with snakes and carves intricate designs in her arm) and a serial-killing stepfather (who believes that all people who aren’t super intelligent and physically capable should be killed) that plans on killing her, like her brother, before her tenth birthday. The second story features crazy psycho alien assassins, Cass & Polly (identical twin sisters with fantastic bodies who used to be Vegas showgirls and shoot shit), and Old Yeller (a special dog) but it really is about Curtis. Curtis is an alien who is trying to save the world. He’s a shape shifter who is taking the identity of a boy, being hunted by alien assassins who want entropy to reign, and has hot chicks protecting him.
What the story is really about is a giant political agenda. At least that’s what it feels like to me. Dean goes on rants about how the rich rule the world. How handicapped people are frowned upon instead of being treated as equals. How the justice system is entirely fucked up. How humanity has lost itself. How women need to become successful through themselves rather than their bodies. How there is a GOD. Now I don’t really know if he is trying to stress the point of there being a god necessarily or that there is someTHING that has created everything, or maybe he’s trying to pull an Avatar and everything is connected together. He does, however, quote the bible a few times, uses references to Greek gods, and mentions religion a lot (both eastern and western philosophies). Oh…and dogs can apparently see all of this. No lie…hand to god.
Maybe that’s why I couldn’t get into the story. He had way too much shit going on. Aliens? Serial killers? Hot Nerdy Chicks With Guns? Deformed People? Drug Induced Rants? I think the core story is probably really good…he just overran it with bullshit. The point of the story? Love everyone, love nature, be at peace. *yawn* Do you have any idea how fucking boring the world would be?
I know people who loved it. I’m not one of them. Although I did love Chapter 61. It was written from the serial killers perspective (which he didn't bother doing until the end of the book so it's kind of out of place) and reminds me of the killer from Se7en.