Sunday, May 13, 2018

Book Review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Author: A.J. Finn
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 448
Format: E-book
Published: January, 2018
Price: $6.75 -> Rp94.163 (Amazon)
Rating: 4½ / 5 stars

Date started: May 5, 2018 - Date finished: May 6, 2018

It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . .

Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble? and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

Twisty and powerful, ingenious, and moving, The Woman in the Window is a smart, sophisticated novel of psychological suspense that recalls the best of Hitchcock.
This book follows Anna Fox, a child psychiatrist with agoraphobia after a traumatic incident. She doesn't practice anymore and is sequestered in her home all the time unable to go outside. She spends her days with therapy sessions, online chess games, excercizing, actively participating in an online community of agoraphobes, and observing her neighbors through her windows with a camera.

Anna observes and knows every single movement of her neighbors. One day, a new family moved in, The Russells. They seemed like a perfect family, but one day when Anna was looking out through her window to The Russel's house she witness something horrible. When Anna told the police about what happened, nobody believed her because at that time she was hopped up on her medication and had drank some alcohol. It doesn't help as well that everything seems normal at The Russel's household, like nothing bad had happened. Fuelled with certainty that what she saw was real, she tries to prove that she wasn't hallucinating. This attempt later unearth dark secrets of Anna and The Russells.
“If there's one thing I've learned in all my time working with children, if I could whittle those years down to a single revelation, it's this: They are extraordinarily resilient. They can withstand neglect; they can survive abuse; they can endure, even thrive, where adults would collapse like umbrellas.”
It's been a while since I've read a good thriller and this was a really good one. It has solid storytelling and great characterization. This book definitely reminds me of The Girl on the Train because it has the same concept of an unreliable main character witnessing something horrible and literally no one believes her. As with other mystery/thriller type of books, it's as good as its plot twist. I can for sure say that this one has a good plot twist happening. I'll say this one has more than one plot twist, one surprised me to the point where I yelled "WHAT?" loudly while reading and one I kind of suspected but the execution was very satisfying.
“You can hear someone’s secrets and their fears and their wants, but remember that these exist alongside other people’s secrets and fears, people living in the same room.”
The strengths of this book definitely lie on its writing and characterization. Seeing as this book is a debut, I'm pleasantly surprised by how well the writing was. The writing was easy to follow, not at all confusing, straightforward, descriptive enough to make you visualize the surroundings clearly but not too descriptive that makes you bored reading, and very atmospheric to me. I read this book in the middle of the night and the scenes that were supposed to be scary/thrilling worked on me, my heart was racing, and I felt scared as if I was the one in the scenes. The authors way of connecting the storyline from start to finish by dividing the chapters into the dates also worked well here as I can distinguish clearly which were flashbacks and which happened in the present.
“The definition of insanity, Fox, Wesley used to remind me, paraphrasing Einstein, is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different result.”
Strength in characterization for this book lies in the way the main character is created and described throughout this book. I can't speak about the agoraphobia representation in this book since I'm not very well versed in that subject but I felt that I learned more about it from this book. In the first half of the book, nothing really happened that was especially thrilling as it focuses more on getting to know the main character. It may sound boring to you, but I think this is the author's way of making the reader understand Anna and I don't know about you, but it worked with me. I feel myself judging and critiquing her decisions that I felt were stupid and wrong. I also find myself rooting for her in times of crisis.
“This is classic therapist argot: It sounds to me. What I’m hearing. I think you’re saying. We’re interpreters. We’re translators.” 
Definitely one of the top reads of 2018 for me. Highly recommend to mystery/thriller fans as well as beginners out there.

That's all for now!


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