Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz

Life ExpectancyOn the day Jimmy Tock was born, his dying grandfather predicted the exact time of his birth and his measurements, along with a warning of five “very bad” days, beginning in his twentieth year. His father would have discounted the predictions, but when Jimmy was born at exactly the time and weight predicted, he decided to take all the predictions seriously. Our story begins when Jimmy’s 20th birthday is approaching – the first of his “very bad” days.

Think about this–if you know something bad is going to happen, do you stay at home and endanger your family? Do you try to act normal and go about your business? Would you worry, walking down the street, about a stray asteroid, or a runaway truck? How do you avoid collateral damage when you know you’re doomed? Fortunately or unfortunately, Jimmy has had 20 years to think about it and a family who has done everything possible to prepare themselves and Jimmy for any eventuality. He isn’t prepared for what’s coming, of course, because no one can prepare for the truly awful, but his family gives him strength. The unusual circumstances bring the family together in a wonderful way, and provide Jimmy with plenty of time to reflect on life and family, which makes this a book full of beautiful lines like this one:

“No one’s life should be rooted in fear. We are born for wonder, for joy, for hope, for love, to marvel at the mystery of existence, to be ravished by the beauty of the world, to seek truth and meaning, to acquire wisdom, and by our treatment of others to brighten the corner where we are.”

Reading this book, I found myself going back and rereading lines like the above, thinking about life and what it means to appreciate what you have. Very unusual for a book categorized as horror fiction! Yes, there is a serial killer in this book and the spooky predictions of Jimmy’s grandfather, but this is also a book filled with quirky, thoughtful humor, exploring the simple things that make life worthwhile, like love and family. It’s worth a read.

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