Friday, October 14, 2016

The Funhouse by Dean Koontz

Rating: 2.5/5
Read between August 07,2016 to August 09,2016

Edition Details:
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 333
Publisher: Berkley Books

First Sentence:
Ellen Straker sat at the small kitchen table in the Airstream travel trailer, listening to the night wind, trying not to hear the strange scratching that came from the baby's bassinet.

Ellen harper now has a happy family. She has a loving husband and lovely children. But she is stuck in her past. More than twenty years ago she had another family, another husband and another child.
When Ellen was twenty she ran away from her religous fanatic mother and married Cornad Straker, a carny. But it became to clear to her soon that she had left one hell for another. Then something happened and Cornad asked her to leave the carnival and him. Before leaving, Conrad promised her that he would get his revenge and that would include her children.
Now twenty years later Ellen's past has still shadowed her present. She has become what she hated once. She has turned into her mother and treats her kids as her mother used to treat her.
Meanwhile, Conrad still wants his revenge and his carnival is coming to Royal City, the place where Ellen Harper lives with her family.
Will Ellen's past destroy her family? What has Conrad planned?


The Fun house was my first Dean Koontz read. The book was written by Dean for the movie of the same name. I've not seen the movie and i'm not planning to in near future. As far as book is concerned i liked the book. It was an okay read.
I had read this book a couple of months back. I wanted to write about this but couldn't due to the time crunch. But now i have. Most of the details in the book have become hazy but i remember enough to write this post.
The book revolves around Cornad Straker and his promise to Ellen that he'll take his revenge. The reader keeps reading to see this promise being kept. But it's at the very end that this revenge starts. Before that we just see the problems that Ellen and her family are facing directly or indirectly because of her past. I think too much space was given to it.
Now, Ellen in this book becomes the classic case of people turning into what they hate. The transformation of Ellen to a religious fanatic like her mother whom she hated was ironical. The another characters of the book that a reader sees is because of Ellen and Cornad. There are Ellen's children- Amy and Joey. Amy is a high school teenager with low self esteem because of the way her mother treats her. Joey is a ten year old boy. He too is affected by his mother's behaviour and is afraid of her. There is something wrong with Ellen and her children knew that. She was a drunk too. But her husband wasn't doing anything regarding that. I found it hard to believe. In the whole novel Paul Harper is shown to be a guy  who loves his family & yeah he's dominated by his wife but she also respects him. I keep wondering how could he not see what was happening with his wife.
Another thing that i didn't like in the book was that no explanation was given as to how did Cornad's children keep turning out to be the way that they were.In the novel Cornad is a simple human. Yes, he had committed some grave sin in his childhood(i'll not say what. you'll have to read the book for that.) But apart from that he's nothing out of the ordinary. The creatures that he was giving birth and that too from two different woman was something that i found hard to believe. IMHO it would have been better if a better explanation would have been given for that.
Then there was the character of Liz Duncan. I've not lived in America so i can't say that such girls exist there but in movies i've seen a character like her. A person who's promiscuous as hell and does that in the name of being cool. There is pattern for characters like that. For most part they are shown as alpha and the main lead follows them but when it matters most their so call tough exterior shatters and they end up following the lead of the protagonist who obviously rises to the occasion. Liz Duncan is no different. I think that's what you call a cliche'.
In the final act of the book Ellen Harper is completely removed from the action. She was the one the revenge was promised to but most of it happens without her knowing it. If i would have been planning revenge then i would have made sure that the one whom i have been planning it knows what's being done to them instead of them finding out later. I think it would have made a greater effect if Ellen would have been present in the last half and her dark past is eventually revealed to her children.
You may think that i've mentioned a lot of things that i didn't like about the book and yes they affected the ratings of the book too. But the one thing that they didn't took from the novel was it's readability. The book is fast paced and once you start reading it it would be difficult to put down. The above things that i have mentioned if those would have been there then it (book) would have had a greater effect on me.
Anyway if you like a weekend dose of horror then you can go through this book. It's not a book that one would want to read more than once but it can be read once.
If you have read the book then do tell me what were your thoughts about it. It would be cool if you could recommend some good Dean Koontz books too. If you haven't read the book you can get it from the following links:
Paperback Amazon
Kindle

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