Eyes Wide Open

Eyes Wide Open cover Eyes Wide Open
By Ted Dekker
Worthy Publishing
21 January 2014

I’ve read one other of Ted Dekker’s novels, and unfortunately Eyes Wide Open is similar… at least it’s similar in the sense that the storyline is at the same time predictable and surprising. It’s true that this novel threw in some unexpected twists and turns, but ultimately I was disappointed.

It began interestingly enough: Christy, the protagonist, gets stuck—literally—in a grave of her own making, however accidental the circumstances may have been. But the tension and suspense implied on the back cover is resolved within the first three of four chapters: though she got herself stuck in a virtual coffin, Christy also manages to get herself out.

Strange things kept happening: she goes from her almost-coffin to a locked psych ward, and then her friend Austin also stumbles into the psych ward while he’s trying to find Christy after she left him a frantic partial voicemail message. And yet, it was so unfulfilling: the other patients were two-dimensional, the therapists and staff were presented as misguided at best and downright evil at at worst, and their techniques were not at all therapeutic. Maybe that was the point since Christy is saved by “the Outlaw” and eventually manages to escape (and help Austin escape) the dangerous ward and its wardens.

Honestly, though? I am so, so done with psych hospitals/units/wards being a backdrop for drama. Psychology and psychiatry are good for many people; psychiatric hospital(s) as a representations of all the world’s evils, as Dekker implies in Eyes Wide Open, hardly inspires confidence in the medical professionals in the mental health field. Can I have a novel that has a psych ward in it that actually helps people instead of making them crazier? Just once? What a revolutionary idea that must be!

While I admit this novel was a page-turner, it was mostly a page-turner for me because I kept hoping it would defy convention and expectations. In that respect, it never surprised me at all. The end seemed rushed and sort of thrown together like the author had a deadline: the Outlaw tells Christy about the past she cannot remember, and what he tells her is basically out of left field. No foreshadowing, no explanation or even “Oh, that makes sense”-type of realization. Eh. I was less-than-impressed.

DISCLAIMER: I received Eyes Wide Open free from Worthy Publishing for this review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Viannah E. Duncan

Viannah E. Duncan is a writer and activist hailing originally from Los Angeles. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has a cat, Cleo.

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