Road Through Wonderland by Dawn Schiller Book Review and Personal Thoughts



I love a good book, where you get a sense that a person has truly bared their soul, and come to terms with their demons. I did not get that, from this book, at all. No self realization. Instead, there was a lot of finger pointing and blame shifting. If you are gonna go in that direction, at least make sure it’s at the right people. Even that seemed off.

I was baffled, because towards the end of the book, Dawn meets up with Sharon expecting or feeling owed an apology.  Did she want an apology because Sharon did not pry her away from John? She proved herself to be a lying, manipulative, drug addict, which I have no problem with. But the fact that she takes zero blame for it, I do have a problem with. She blames everything on John and Sharon. She and John hid their romance from Sharon. All of their trysts were done behind Sharon’s back. Yet she feels owed some, grand apology from Sharon of all people. Sharon seemed like a Saint on Earth if ever there was one.

The book made Dawn seem like a person that can not come to grips with reality, or admit fault. Her dad was the biggest creep on the planet. Regardless, she has a fondness for him. John and Sharon treated her better than her Dad ever did. Yet she seems to think that Sharon should have said or done something to get her away from John, a task her own sister could not accomplish. Dawn was gonna do what Dawn was gonna do, and now she blames Sharon.  For what? Not stopping her. Who could have. John for taking her innocence? She was not exactly a shrinking violet, yet she blames everyone, for everything that went wrong in her life and takes no responsibility.

It also sounded to me like she tried to blame Sharon the night she was almost murdered. She mentions that Sharon may have been home but not answering the door. Which sounded to me like she was saying that it was Sharon’s fault she had to take a ride from stranger at 1am. Cause hitchhiking is not self destructive at all.

Then the story about John tearing up her vegetable garden. She was upset that Sharon does not console her, when clearly Sharon is distancing herself from a drug addict. But Dawn is vague when it comes to her own drug use. Which did I already mention, she was doing before she even met John. And again, I have no problem with people that make mistakes. It’s just when they can’t admit guilt of any kind.

Road Through Wonderland –

I felt the book was well written. It was very entertaining and I honestly could not put it down. I finished it in days.

Let me try to break it down.  Dawn Schiller grew up with her mother, a sister and a brother, in Florida. Her dad joined the service when she was young, and when his duty ended, he went home briefly.  Then he left the country with the promise of finding work, and sending the family money.  Dawns mother heard from him years later asking her for money, while she was working several jobs to support herself and three kids.

As broke as Dawns mother was, she actually sent this son of a bitch, money, in hopes that it would bring him home so he could share in the financial and emotional burden of raising their children. I think we all know what happened next. She did not hear from him again until years later when he needed something.

This time it was a letter stating that he would be home on such and such a date. The family was counting down the days until his arrival. The kids were bouncing off the walls, ecstatic to see their long lost dad.  The scene was painted very well. The mom had on sexy red lingerie and a face full of make up. I can only speculate that besides missing her husband she had hopes of using sex to help keep him home.

Anyway – The excitement was very short lived and his only reason for returning, was to get a divorce, so he could marry a woman in Thai land that he had a baby with.

Her piece of shit, dead beat dad, reminded me of my own, piece of shit, dead beat dad. But for what ever reason she seems oblivious to the fact that he is, a bonafide, piece of shit, dead beat dad. I was blown away by her ability to downplay his crimes.

So, what happens next is the kids are all forced to decide who they want to live with. Their mom or dear old dad. Being young and naive, the girls both picked their dad, and within a matter of months, were driving to California with him.  Which was financed by the division of assets, and selling of a house, which should have all gone to the mother.

By the time they all get to California they are pretty much out of money, and thanks to a hitch hiker they picked up along the way, they have a place to sleep when they arrive. The hitchhiker introduces them to a nice a lady that he is shacked up with, and she offers them her floor.  Within a few days the hitch hiker has moved on to greener pastures, so now the dad is able to upgrade to the bed and take complete advantage of this woman’s kindness. He romances her out of every cent that she has in savings.

In the mean time Dawn has begun falling in love with the manager of this small complex who also happens to be, legendary porn star, (known for his donkey size schlong) Johnny Wadd Holmes. Dawn is almost 16, at the time and when her dad has bilked the kind lady out of house and home, he is ready to move on, to join his Thai girlfriend, and their illegitimate child.

Dawn stays behind and gets a job in a nursing home, and rents a room in the complex that is run by John and his wife Sharon. She is first grilled to see if she had any knowledge of her fathers shady grifting dealings. When they decide she was not in on the deception, she is accepted and treated like a daughter by Sharon. Sharon is a nurse and incredibly generous. She helps furnish Dawns apartment and was nothing but kind to Dawn.

Dawns own sister, mother and dead beat dad tried to talk her out of staying in California because they knew that she was getting involved with a much older man. These people could have actually called the police if they felt a crime was being committed. But for some reason, not clarified in the book, Dawn feels compelled to blame Sharon.

Dawn was not all that innocent when she met John.  She was smoking pot and running wild, all on her own.  It was after John got hooked on coke that he started beating her. Abuse is abuse at any age. Was it worse because of her age? I think it was horrible. So here is my point. She was with him for like 5 or 6 years and I’m wondering at what age can Dawn take responsibility for herself.

There was also a part in the book that was captured in the movie Wonderland (2003) where Dawn is sitting on a bus bench, in a not-so-nice part of town, after being left stranded at a hotel by John.  Dawn is broke and at rock bottom. Then she gets picked up by a nice Christian lady, (portrayed by Carrie Fisher).  This lady seems genuinely kind, and instead of just handing people money, she is trying to teach young people how to get their lives together and she gives them actual work. Dawn repays her for her kindness by, fucking her boyfriend in this ladies bathroom, while doing a ton of blow, and then portraying her as a nutty religious person, in her book all these years later. Nice Dawn.


If you look up the word Degenerate in the dictionary, you will find a photo of Dawn’s Dad.