Published January 2, 2018, by William Morrow
Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Thriller
Format: Audiobook (Audio CDs)
Narrator: Ann Marie Lee
My dear girl, you cannot keep bumping your head against reality and saying it is not there.
Last year I read a book that, by the end of it, I wanted to throw against the wall. I disliked everything about that book – the writing, the forced humor, the weak plot, the … everything!
What do you do with a review of a book that you genuinely dislike?
I never trash books. Book-writing is an art and it is hard. Every book is a baby that you are laying in a bassinet on the front porch of the world. Every author gets points for at least being brave enough to release a part of themselves for others to see and critique. It’s something that I’ve never done, so kudos to all the authors out there.
But just like being a parent, I can love my child without liking everything they do. That brings me around to my review of The Woman in the Window. I did not like this book. Sorry, not sorry. It annoyed me to the point of yelling at the narrator (who really doesn’t deserve my wrath!).
Here’s the story:
Anna Fox is a recluse. She suffers from agoraphobia due to a traumatic event she experienced with her family while they were vacationing in the mountains. Since then, she lives apart from her husband and daughter, unable to leave her home even for the smallest of things. Anna becomes a voyeur, observing her neighbors through her camera lens and living vicariously through them. When, one day, she sees something she was never meant to witness, she has to finally make the decision to brave the world outside her door.
Watching is like nature photography: You don’t interfere with the wildlife.
I know I’m supposed to sympathize with Anna because she is an agoraphobe, has panic attacks, and is depressed. I know I’m supposed to give her a pass because she has been through significant trauma, doesn’t have many friends, and has a chronic drinking problem. I know this. And yet…
Decisions! Life is all about decisions!!! If you make dumb ones, you will pay the cost!
This is NOT to say that Anna deserved any of what happened to her, but throughout the book, as she’s grappling with how to handle present-day problems, all of her decisions seem to be the exact opposite of what would actually make her circumstances better!
I struggled with this book because I try my best to relate to the main character – to have some sort of insight into the whys of what he or she does. And I just couldn’t get there with Anna. And it’s not because I haven’t suffered through trauma (I have), or depression (I have), or panic attacks (I haven’t, but does anxiety count?). But it’s because Anna made choices that weren’t in her best interest that had nothing to do with her medical diagnosis.
I’m giving this book 2 stars (“It was ok”) because I want to be supportive of those with this condition. It is debilitating and tragic and I don’t mean to make light of it in any way. I just wanted this book to be so much better than it was. Even the “great reveal” fell flat. And now, I may never drink Merlot or wear a robe around the house ever, ever, ever again. At least she helped me in that.
In my low rating, I believe that I am in the minority. It rated a 4.0 rating on Goodreads, so obviously, the hype didn’t bypass everyone. I just expected more, and, sadly didn’t get it.
But judge it for yourself! Listen to the first chapter of The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn HERE, courtesy of Harper Collins and Soundcloud.
About the Author
A.J. Finn, pseudonym for Daniel Mallory, has written for numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Times Literary Supplement(UK). A native of New York, Finn lived in England for ten years as a book editor before returning to New York City.
(Bio from Goodreads)