Updated: Jun 21, 2021
Title: 77 Shadow Street
Author: Dean Koontz
What's it about?
77 Shadow Street isn't about one specific person, or even a group of specific people. It's about the land, the apartment building that houses a number of tenets, employees and some not quite human entities. It's about odd happenings that center around the building and the fight to survive those events by those who happen to be within the walls when the events happen.
Unlike many books, this one doesn't fallow a character or two closely. In stead, you get to meet each one of the characters at play, each chapter bouncing from one person to another. Some characters are allotted more time with us, while others only get a chapter or two.
The Moonlit Mind is a novella added into this book as a fun bonus. While this story centers around Shadow Street, too, this journey also centers around one boy, Crispin who not finds himself running for his life, a job that would be so much easier if what he was running from was more human then not.
Favorite Characters (77 Shadow Street): My favorite characters were the kids. We first meet Winny, a bookworm struggling with accepting who he is compared to who his mostly absent father thinks he should be. He's smart, innocent, funny and a kid. He thinks like a kid, a smart kid, but a kid.
But then we meet Iris, a little girl with Autism, straddling the world mostly created by books in her mind and the real world. Of course I have a soft spot for people with Autism, but she just pulled on my heart. She was so sweet and innocent and loveable!
Favorite Characters (Moonlit Mind): My favorite in this novella was...wow... this is harder then I anticipated. I think it was Crispin, or Harley. Crispin's this young, smart kid who was forced to fight for his life while living with horrific events from his past. Maybe I liked him so much because he was the really the only character that we get to know, but I don't think it was just that. I really liked him. He was another example of intelligent, innocent kids written by an adult. Harley, on the other hand, was a magnificent dog that, in some ways, reminded me of Einstein (another amazing dog, maybe my favorite from literature and also written by Mr. Koontz).
Least Favorite Characters (77 Shadow Street): Fielding Udell. As much as I wanted to say he was interesting and humorous (which he was for about half of the time) and to name someone else my least favorite, I just can't without lying. What's so bad about him? Well, at first he seemed like just a conspiracy nut with some over the top views that were close to laughable, if not entirely so. But after time, those over the top views just became too much and, at some point, I started feeling like he was more delusional then just hyped up on conspiracy theories. I actually started rooting for him to lose the battle for his life, to tell you the truth.
Least Favorite Characters (Moonlit Mind): This one, however, was a pretty quick answer. My least favorite character in this novella was Crispin's mom! I disliked her from the start. She's not a mom! She doesn't seem to really see her kids as kids or beings to love, but bargaining tools, tools to manipulate the world around her to get her way.
Favorite Part (77 Shadow Street): At first I didn't think I had a favorite part and then I realized that my favorite part is a spoiler. It's a Winny moment in which he becomes the person he thought impossible. It's a moment that made me cheer for Winny and love him even more! (sorry. That's all I can say).
Least Quote (77 Shadow Street): "...but you didn't always have to misuse strength. You could use strength, whatever little of it you might have, for the right thing, even if you knew there was no chance you would win the fight, even if you were doomed from the start, you could stand up and swing your stumpy arms, because trying against the worst odds was in what life was all about." (pg. 518)
At first, I thought that I was going to have a hard time keeping the characters straight and that I wasn't going to like the lack of personal connections. What I found was, I didn't have a hard time keeping everyone straight. They were all just different enough to keep them from melding into each other. I didn't miss the personal interaction, even, as I still managed to feel connection to a handful of the characters, not all of them on the "good" side.
However, as much as I liked this book, and I did, I felt like my experience reading this book was choppy. There were times when I was excited to get to pick the book up again, and other times I wasn't overly eager to read. I felt like it started off strong, weakened a bit and then picked up again. However, that may have also had something to do with the pile of books to pick up in turn that is currently toppling over on my head board.
I enjoyed the book and, given the chance, may even read it again, however I don't think it's my favorite Dean Koontz book I've experienced. It had it's moments of creeping me out, but those weren't in abundance. It did, however suck me in enough to leave me jumping when someone in the room coughed or sneezed in the same room with me.
I rate this book (77 Shadow Street and Moonlit Mind):
I give this book a