THE ROAD THROUGH WONDERLAND: Surviving John Holmes by Dawn Schiller

PUBLISHING INFO: Medallion Press, 2010
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir

From Publisher: Painstakingly honest, this chilling memoir reveals how a teenager became immersed in the bizarre life of legendary porn star John Holmes. Starting with a childhood that molded her perfectly to fall for the seduction of “the king of porn,” this autobiography recounts the perilous road that Dawn Schiller traveled—from drugs and addiction to beatings, arrests, forced prostitution, and being sold to the drug underworld. After living through the horrific Wonderland murders of 1981, she entered protective custody, ran from the FBI, and turned in John Holmes to the police. This is the true story of a young girl’s harrowing escape from one of the most infamous public figures, her struggle to survive, and her recovery from unthinkable abuse.

MY THOUGHTS: Dawn was just 15 1/2 years old when she met 32 year old John Holmes in 1976. She'd moved to California with her father and younger sister after her parents recent divorce. John and his wife Sharon managed the apartments Dawn and her family were living in. Though John was married, and Dawn knew it, they began 'dating' each other and later began using drugs together.

The book tells of all the drugs Dawn used with John and physical abuse she took from him and John's decent into heavy drug use, from 1976-1981. I feel the book was very well written and detailed. Dawn definitely has a knack/talent for writing. I really enjoyed the book and rate it 4 stars.

What keeps me from giving it five stars is the story basically ends in 1981 with the Wonderland Murders then briefly jumps ahead to 1988 with John's death from an AIDS related illness. There is no mention of Dawn's life between 1988-2010. For some odd reason, she doesn't want us to know about her life after John died. I'm assuming her life from 1981-1998 was consumed with drugs and bad relationships with men but I'm just guessing.

Also, there are no updates about the people we've read about like her younger sister Terry, John's ex-wife Sharon, or John's brother and sister in law, Karen. I'd really like to know what ever became of them and was really let down by Dawn leaving all that out of the story. I'm really disappointed. I'd really like to know why in the world she'd put into writing that Sharon murdered a man, in self defense, when the law knows absolutely nothing about it...until now. Dawn is the one and only person Sharon has ever told that to, when they met in 1988 after John died, and now it's in writing. What's going to happen to Sharon now? Why would Dawn tell on her? I'm really confused by that. Puzzled, actually.

Dawn mentions her daughter and has a photo of her in the book but never mentions how the daugher came to be. We are told nothing about the girls father, when the met, nothing. Dawn is a bit of a mystery. Did Dawn ever ask her horrible father why he did drugs with his underage children and was just an overall horrible father? I guess she didn't. I've read elsewhere that Dawn didn't mention another of John's girlfriends, one he dated while married to Sharon and dating Dawn. Why/how could Dawn not mention that at all? Why did she (intentionally) leave all that out? I do have a problem with Dawn saying John forced her to prositute herself. I saw no signs of force. I'm sure she felt like she had no choice but to do it but still, the choice was her's. She never said how she felt about John getting AIDS or how she even found out about it. Did she ever want to visit him? We'll never know. I want to know why John and Sharon had such an odd relationship and why they stayed married. Did Dawn ever ask him about it? Did she not care that he had sex with other women (and men) for money? We don't learn her thoughts about any of that.

Overall, I was pleased with the book despite the lack of updates on some of the people. If you like biographies, you should really enjoy this one. It's a hefty, trade paperback. I found an online interview with Dawn that you might enjoy.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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