The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn
Publication date: 25 Jan 2018
Genre: Adult thriller
Length: 13 hours 42 minutes
Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars
This is a spoiler-free review.
I feel like I rarely read thrillers, and this is something I’d like to change. Having devoured Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train just before the height of their popularity, I figured that The Woman in the Window would be the perfect thriller for me. It is so often compared to those two books that I was so sure I’d love it.
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.
I am so sad to say that I ended up disappointed with this book. I’ve been puzzling over the reason why, and I think it comes down to the fact that I listened to the audiobook. While the narration was top notch — she has this very sweet and soothing voice that’s actually quite eerie and is so perfect — I just felt like I couldn’t fall into this story in the same way as Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, both of which I read as physical books. I was much more interested in Anna and her struggle with agoraphobia than I was with the mystery — I found that I didn’t particularly care one way or another what was happening across the park. Because I was listening rather than reading, my mind could go to other places and I could spend time pondering each character — I figured out what was going on pretty quickly (with one major exception — but that’s to be discussed privately if you’re interested). I don’t think this would have been the case if I read a hard copy of the book. Perhaps thriller audiobooks just aren’t for me.
I think I liked Anna Fox too much for my own good, which swayed my feelings on her experiences throughout the book. I was so much less skeptical of her than I was of, say, Rachel in The Girl on the Train. Rachel is a wretched creature, completely destroyed by her past and her addiction. You truly cannot trust what she sees and what she does — she’s the perfect unreliable narrator. I wont say too much here because of spoilers, but I found that Anna was a much more sympathetic character, which isn’t really what you want in an unreliable narrator.
I can’t comment too much on the ending, which I found underwhelming, or the characters, but I just thought that The Woman in the Window was just okay. I feel like I’m forever chasing the high of Gone Girl, a book that completely blew my mind. I really wish I had chosen to read a physical copy of The Woman in the Window — we have one floating around the family — but I was impatient! However I did learn a valuable reading lesson — for me, thrillers should be read rather than listened to.
I will say that I think I just had a particularly weird reading experience with this one. If you are interested in this book, I highly encourage you to pick it up. It has been getting rave reviews (including from my own family members, who are very smart people with great taste) and I really think it will appeal to a lot of people!
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Have you read The Woman in the Window? What did you think? Do you have any thriller recommendations for me? Let me know!