BOOK REVIEW: Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune
"We don't need you because that implies you had to fix something in us. We were never broken. We want you, Wallace. Every piece. Every part."
I was first introduced to TJ Klune last year with his book The House in the Cerulean Sea, which I highly recommend. I loved that book so much, so when I saw Under the Whispering Door, I knew I needed to read it. Plus, the cover is just so eye-catching. I love both of the covers for the two books I've now read of TJ Klune's.
In Under the Whispering Door, we meet Wallace, who is an asshole lawyer. He ends up dying and this is when we meet his reaper and his ferryman (not to mention a few other key characters). Wallace undergoes a metamorphosis during his time with the Hugo the ferryman, but the Manager feels that he's taking too much time to crossover. So Wallace is given one week before he will be forced to cross over. In that week, Wallace does a lifetime of good. In all, Under the Whispering Door is about a man who spent his life at the office, finally learning to live in death.
Now, although I was super excited about this book, it didn't start off super great for me. The narrator's voice grated on my nerves when he was voicing Wallace. But as I got more and more involved in the story, I didn't even notice it. I also didn't love that the narrator had one voice for almost every woman that he voiced. Despite these two critiques, I still love this book. Fair warning though. This book is all about death, but don't let that frighten you. I feel like even if you've recently lost a loved one, it could help you gain some peace. For me, I hope where we end up after we die is a lot like the place described in this book.
Although there are some heavy themes in Under the Whispering Door, there are some laugh out loud moments too. I legit was driving down the road, laughing so hard during some parts of the book. Nelson is very often a part of these sections, but Wallace has one or two as well. But honestly, it was the heavier themes that really made me love this book. Wallace's character development throughout the book was really a joy to listen to. And Hugo's selflessness, and his humanity, were just as important to the story. Both had me hoping for an ending I didn't think was possible, but still hoped for nonetheless.
There are also a lot of good quotes that I just love from this book. Some that I feel are necessary to read, even if you'll never read the book. So here are just a few of those.
“It’s never enough, is it? Time. We always think we have so much of it, but when it really counts, we don’t have enough at all.”
“Everyone loses their way at some point, and it’s not just because of their mistakes or the decisions they make. It’s because they’re horribly, wonderfully human. And the one thing I’ve learned about being human is that we can’t do this alone. When we’re lost, we need help to try to find our way again.”
“He hoped wherever he was going that there'd still be the sun and the moon and the stars. He'd spent a majority of his life with his head turned down. It seemed only fair that eternity would allow him to raise his face toward the sky.”
“Why?” she asked as she trembled. “Why do you care so much?” “Because I don’t know how else to be.”
Overall, I gave Under the Whispering Door a 5 star rating. It hit so many key things for me - humor, emotions, a quirkiness, and even a (ghost) dog. It was just so good all around, and I highly recommend adding it to your TBR pile. If you’d like to see what I’m reading now, check out my Goodreads or follow us on Instagram and Facebook! If you’re excited to see what other topics we’ll be covering in the coming months, make sure to subscribe. Thanks for reading with me!