“Watching is like nature photography: You don’t interfere with the wildlife.”
TITLE & AUTHOR: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
PUBLISHED : January 2nd 2018, by William Morrow
MY RATING: 5/5
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, a mother, their teenage 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.
Lately I’ve been on a thriller/mystery binge because that’s one of the genres I’ve seriously neglected the past few years, especially since I started blogging. It’s always refreshing to break out of a rut by trying something new so by reading a few thrillers I also ended my slump, double win! I’ve started this streak with Ruth Ware’s books, and of course I’ll review those too, but I’ve just recently finished The Woman in the Window and I’m still under the impression, because it was so good! Also, there’s a movie coming out very soon, starting my queen Amy Adams, and maybe you’d like to read the book first.
It’s funny how life works for me to grab this book out of twenty-ish thrillers I own, and it turns out it’s very evocative of the situation the world’s in right now. The main character, Anna Fox, has agoraphobia. She hasn’t left her house for ten months, so her main hobby is spying on her neighbors, naturally. She watches them through the lens of her canon camera, following their everyday activities, infidelities and book club meetings. She’s not really friendly with her neighbors as she’s a recluse, so she doesn’t get many visitors, except her therapist and physical coach, and her husband and daughter separated from her a while ago.
Anna’s world comes crashing down once her new neighbor visits her twice in just a couple of days. Jane is a beautiful, funny, interesting woman, living just across the park with her husband and teenage son. She’s a bright personality, opening a whole new world inside Anna’s dark and stuffy house. But after witnessing a horrible incident through her camera, Anna feels more alone than ever, and starts questioning people around her, her sanity, and even the reality itself.
I loved how tricky this novel was. Things build up into a clear picture, only to topple down on you in the next chapter, making you question what’s the right narrative. The narrator isn’t reliable, but you’re unsure if you can trust anyone else. Like with many other mental disorders, agoraphobia invites people to tell you that everything’s in your head and that you’re imagining things, and you’re paranoid, calm down. When a person like that witnesses a crime, it’s so easy to shut them up, right? There are so many twists and turns, and I couldn’t figure out most of them for the life of me. I love a piece of writing that keeps me on edge, and The Woman in the Window did just that, chapter after chapter, making it hard for me to take a break and put the book down.
Anna is an unreliable narrator and overall a troubled woman and not 100% decent, but that just makes her more human and palpable if you ask me. I could partly relate to some of her actions and thoughts because in some ways, anxiety is similar to agoraphobia, it’s a fear. A horrible, heavy fear that weighs you down while you’re trying to do the simplest things the others take for granted, like taking a walk, eating, or being around other people. I could also understand why the authorities would think of that kind of person as untrustworthy, because if you can’t convince yourself something is real, how can you do that with others?
The Woman in the Window is a great, fast-paced novel, and I think it will make an amazing movie, though not just as much for us who already know the ending pff. I can’t wait to read whatever