Julie D. (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA)
A Very Different Type of Book
First let me say, I loved this book. It was so different than anything I had ever read before. I loved the characters and how each one told their own story. It was also very nice to have the story told from their mother as she watches from Heaven. I wasn't sure if I would like this aspect of the book, but I did. I highly recommend this one.
Martha L. (Warner, NH)
warm, wonderful read
Outside Wonderland has given me a warm glow. I would give this book more stars if it were possible. Life happens and days pass. Everyone struggles with something/someone, but life is what we make of it and how we move forward. This book highlights this with the wonderfully warm characters of Eve, Griffin and Dinah. The brother and sisters lost their mother in an accident when they were very young and then their father when they were a little older. They seem to struggle with finding themselves and their paths in life. I enjoyed the scenes with the parents watching the children through the clouds of heaven. This book gives you hope without preaching, reality without despair.
"As always, humans beings are endlessly heartbreaking and inspiring, their lives threaded with strands of despair and brighter ones of hope. They are as predictable and changeable as the weather."
Kenan R. (Liberty, MO)
As I grow older I become increasingly less tolerant of self centered characters making “rookie mistakes”. So I have to say that while I liked Outside Wonderland - I did not particularly like any of the Stenen children, and felt their woe-is-me attitudes that offered them the mutual “out” for self absorbed, lousy decision-making, made for insipid and uninteresting protagonists. That said, I didn’t dislike the book, in fact I found it to be a fast and generally entertaining read. I much preferred the interaction in the afterlife between the Stenen parents and felt their relationship was much more real and potentially interesting than those of their offspring. I also felt the prose in the “Here” (afterlife) sections was vastly superior to that in the “There” or real life moments. I liked Outside Wonderland fine as written; I would have loved it had all been written like those incandescent glimpses of “Here” were.
Ellen S. (Mundelein, IL)
I hardly noticed the Chicago blizzard winds howling last night, as I read this book from start to finish. I was initially suspicious that it would be a predictable chick lit read or just a ripoff of The Lovely Bones. I normally prefer my fiction to be of a more literary and less sentimental bent. Nonetheless, I found that I enjoyed it very much. I love the idea of a heavenly afterlife, where our deceased love ones watch over and wait for us. I also enjoyed the author's handling of the ups and downs of long term relationships versus the reaffirming high of flirting and the intoxicating attraction of the new. Outside Wonderland is a sure bet for both bookclubs and young people.
Burlingame Book Lover
Too many storylines make this book a very choppy read. My head hurt just trying to keep up with what was happening. Could one family really suffer from this much chaos? The author threw everything into the storyline from death, angels from heaven, sickness, infidelity, homosexuality and an unwed mother. I wouldn't even suggest this book as a good beach read. Sorry.
Lisa G. (Riverwoods, IL)
Outside Wonderland by Lorna Jane Cook
This book is about a family that has no idea their deceased parents watch everything they do, kind of like Lovely Bones meets Touched by an Angel. The plot is a bit trite but it was an enjoyable story and I liked the character development. The story kept my interest and it would probably make a good book group discussion.
Debra F. (Alton Bay, NH)
Watching from "Here"
You will journey into the lives of three adult siblings who lost their parents as children; Alice, Dinah, and Griffen, (named after the characters in the Lewis Carroll stories).
Each one, in very different ways, tries to cope and to find happiness in their lives and the world. As you watch them try and navigate their way in the world, you will also see their lives through their 'parents' eyes up in Heaven, ("Here").
Loss, betrayal, faith, love and family are some of the themes running through this novel
If you are not open to religious themes, this novel may not be for you.