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 and 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.
What was it all about
The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn was one of the hyped books that I bought almost six months ago. And I just found the opportunity to read it, all thanks to the list of Netflix suggestions.
So, I did the next best thing, combined both my obsessions. Currently, I am watching a lot of limited crime and thriller series on Netflix and of course, movies. This book was a readalong while watching the movie. And I had great fun doing both as it was a good analysis to know what sections had been chopped while making a movie.
With so much success with this one book, I wondered if the author ever bothered to pen down a second one. I checked. Nope. Nada. Nah. A one-time wonder? Only time would tell.
Anna had agoraphobia and never stepped outside her home. There were some understanding people who helped her out with daily necessities, and some who were kinda mean to her. Nevertheless, she led a happy life keeping a watch on all her neighbors, attending therapy twice a week at her home, and talking to her separated husband and daughter.
Then the Russels moved into the house in front of her. The son came to introduce himself, followed by a good chat with the mother over wine and gossip lasting the entire evening. And one day, Anna in her usual neighbor gazing pastime saw something that shocked her.
911. And the cops found nothing. So was it all in her mind? Who was in real danger?
The claustrophobic atmosphere that the author and director of the movie managed to keep a hold of right until the end of the book was great.
The movie had a faster pace as compared to the story because the visual effect and seeing the expressions on Anna’s face helped more in understanding her and connecting with her.
Since the release of the book, I had been trying to get into the story, but unfortunately, sleep was what I managed to achieve within the first few pages over the years. But with the movie running alongside, sometimes I had to pause it until I caught up with the scene on the screen, I found I could easily bypass the boring sections of the book.
So if you are like me who likes the prose to be sharp and on-point, then reading the book with the movie running made it quite interesting.
Anna was the center of focus of this book, and I somehow couldn’t seem to connect with her. There was too much of her rambling and narrative in the book. The actress playing Anna too didn’t redeem herself as she had a single expression on her face.
Both in the movie and book, they didn’t come across as believable. Therein lay my problem.
I liked how the author showed agoraphobia; there were moments where I felt that I was going through the same thing.
In the movie, I could decode one subplot by the intonation of a dialogue uttered by Papa Russel, but the book kept the twist hidden until I reached the very end.
Some moments of the book kept my attention focused on it, whereas from the plot line aspect, the movie kept me more immersed in it. But overall, the book didn’t have the zeal that I expected from it. It was too much of a slow burn, not expecting that from a thriller.
The ending was satisfactory, as it was nice to see Anna living a full life. But the various subplots hidden could have been so much better.
I was left feeling that I had not missed much by not seeing the movie or reading the book in so many years.
The dark, claustrophobic, restricted life of Anna was well shown in the book. So I liked how the author kept the feeling that there was something more at play. That got me to flip pages fast.
OMG. the pace was too slow for a thriller, with hardly any pulse spikes. I kept wanting the book to have an equal ratio of narrative to dialogue but the first half had a lot of monologues and ramblings, and the second half was faster.
The style of writing - The Prose
This kinda writing style was not for me. I read the book as a tale but not something that I could sink deep into it or live the life of the characters, feel what they were feeling. The prose lacked the invitation.
I had no idea how the book was such a hit. I found it too difficult to concentrate, and social media felt to be more inviting than this book.
Did anyone of you have the same problem, if you have read the book?
How it made me feel - The Good
My first thought was – one book off my TBR, and one movie removed from my list. The second thought was – Sometimes it was better to listen to my instincts and not waste my time on books that put me to sleep in the first chapter itself.
The book was not worth the hype at all, at least for me. It is available on Kindle Unlimited if you wanna find out if my words ring true for you too.
I bought the book on a sale. I didn’t like the story, but it would make a good prop for instagram when inspiration failed to strike me.
I bought the paperback version of the book from an online retail, and this is my journey down its pages, straight from the heart. STRICTLY HONEST and UNBIASED.
If you’ve loved the review, even if you didn’t like it, you can always buy me a cuppa to perk me up for the next review
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Sorry this didn’t work for you Shalini. I loved it. ❤📚
OMG your five star was my two star. Generally, I follow as per your reviews on Goodreads. NO idea Sandy why I didn’t like this book.
Great review! I’ve always loved reading your reactions–and this one no different. Doesn’t sound like a book I’d enjoy either if it’s putting me to sleep in the first chapter.
Apparently, others have liked it. Wondering why I found it so boring.
I thought this was good not great…but book better than movie
I have no idea now why I didn’t like the novel. I tried the audiobook twice and then went on to the physical book followed by the movie.
I think I figured out the twists early on….so maybe I was bored…though I liked the premise