Odd Thomas! How I loved your quirky characters, your heart, your ghosts, and your central mystery.
But let’s talk about your girlfriend. You know, Stormy? Your soul mate, your feisty partner who knows her way around a gun and isn’t afraid to use it. You have matching birthmarks and you’re ready to marry her after years of being amazed by her strength and her love.
So how do you show you love her, trust her, and respect her? You hide from her, Odd, and I don’t understand it.
Odd Thomas can see the dead. He speaks to them (though they don’t talk back), and he tries to help them so they can move on. This has often led him into dangerous situations and into a tricky relationship with the chief of police because many ghosts who find him in Pico Mundo are trying to uncover their murderers, who are very much still alive.
And in this first adventure with Odd in Odd Thomas: An Odd Thomas Novel by Dean Koontz (Kindle version here), he gets into some dangerous situations indeed. But Odd chooses to hide his extracurricular activities from Stormy. He doesn’t want to put her in danger, so he lies to her and tells her he’s fine, omits that his friend has been shot and that a killer (or killers) are on the loose. And I believe that in doing so, he put her in more danger than she would have been than if she were well informed and prepared.
I get not wanting to put your loved ones in danger–I am a human with a heart. But Stormy is not his child, or his dog. Stormy is a real life human who Odd is supposed to be an equal with in a loving relationship. And in hiding these truths from Stormy, Odd does her and their relationship a disservice.
He says he trust her and believes in her, but his actions don’t say that at all. He doesn’t trust her to make wise choices and be ready to face danger with him, so he keeps her out of the loop and out of his life.
We see this a lot in fiction, and maybe in real life too. Edward lies to Bella to get her out of danger when a rival vampire comes into town (yeah, it’s Twilight–stick with me). In the Fifty Shades trilogy, Christian lies to Ana to keep news of a bribe and kidnapping from her. Both of these men are lauded for their strength and protection of their women (bleh).
This is often held up as an ideal–that men are protecting women and that’s what you should look for in a perfect partner. But if my boyfriend/husband/best friend/anyone kept these things from me, I would feel betrayed and hurt. Together we should be able to find a way to handle the situation. I’m not saying send me to the front lines here (But yay! Women can do that now!) but I am saying women should be treated with respect–always, but especially in romantic relationships. We are not flowers who can’t hear dirty words, we are not weaklings who shrink from life, we are not passive participants in our relationships. I hope.
Where have we seen some really kick-ass women in modern stories? Katniss was pretty badass. Let’s see how it would go if Peeta was on the run and didn’t talk to Katniss about it. I daresay he’d have more to worry about if Katniss found out than from the murderers themselves.
Hermione, oh Hermione. She’s right there with Harry and Ron making plans and taking punches. They love her, and so of course they want her to be safe, but they respect her skills and her brains. They couldn’t have made it without Hermione, and they know it. (Not to mention Ginny, Luna, Mrs. Weasley, and Professor McGonagall.) (Interesting fact: the authors of Twilight, Fifty Shades, HP, and The Hunger Games are all women.)
And Stormy is (supposedly) one of the strong ones. She is outspoken, never shies away from Odd’s peculiar gift, and even helps him out of a sticky situation like a pro. And there’s other strong women and good relationships in Odd Thomas. The chief of police’s wife is right there by her husband’s side, discussing who’s on the loose, and she’s in his inner circle when he needs to talk about work, or probably anything else.
So I just don’t get it when it comes to Odd and Stormy. But I did love everything else about Odd Thomas. The characters are wonderfully weird and Odd is great in every other instance. It was a fun ride and a good mystery, and I will be reading more Odd Thomas for sure. Thanks to my sister for telling me to check it out!
I also wrote about Odd Thomas here during a screen-printing craft.
(I bought this book on my own and am not being paid to write about it. But I am a part of the Amazon Affiliates program, so if you buy it through my links, I’ll receive a little bit of money for it.)