My Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
What did she see?
It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.
Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.
But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?
I thought the plot was fantastic. There were several twists that I didn’t see coming and literally felt chills down my spine when they occurred. The overall plot reminded me of something out of an Old Hollywood film: a woman vanishes, a crime is seen but the witness can’t leave the house, and our protagonist has a mysterious past. These references felt like the author was paying tribute to these classic films. Some criticism of this book centers around the fact that this book feels like it was meant to be a movie. While I don’t see anything wrong with that, I actually think this book feels like a movie because it’s referencing films we’ve either all seen before, or using film standards that feel familiar to us. Either way, I greatly look forward to seeing the film adaptation!
I found the characters in this book to be very intriguing. Anna, our protagonist, is a character worth fighting for. A.J. Finn does a great job of creating empathy for Anna, even as you rightfully question if she is a reliable narrator. Yes, she is a flawed character, as is often the trend in thrillers these days. She drinks too much, swears too much, and is liberal with pills. But there’s also something trusting about Anna. As a reader, you want to believe her. You want to trust what she saw. You want her to find the truth. I thought the other characters in this book were quite strong, as well. There’s one particular family, the Russells, with whom she becomes intertwined. Her interactions with this family are frenzied and frequent, all centered around what Anna swears she saw that one night.
Representation is pretty nonexistent in this book. Our protagonist is a woman, which is great, and there are a few women with whom she interacts. But any characters of color are relegated to side characters. The families on Anna’s block are all heteronormative. As such, this book and this writer could do better. Would the plot suffer if our central family weren’t white? Absolutely not. What if Anna were separated from her wife, not her husband? Again, the plot doesn’t suffer. Representation and diversity are so important and non-white non-hetero persons deserve to be the central focus of more stories.
Overall, I loved this book! I picked it up on New Year’s Day and couldn’t put it down. I read all 448 pages in one sitting. It’s just that great! I especially recommend this book to fans of Hitchcock films and Agatha Christie readers.
This book is…
hard to put down
a nod to classic films
Publisher: William Morrow
Page Count: 448
Available here from Book Depository.
Have you read The Woman in the Window? What was your first read of 2018?