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Sometimes, do you have this feeling that I might have liked a book if it was shorter? Well, that’s what happened with The Woman in the Window and me.
To say that it was a bad read wouldn’t be fair.
No, it was, in fact, one of the most well written books that I’ve read in the genre of psychological thrillers. Well written in terms of the author’s command over the language, his narrative style, and of course, the vivid descriptions that he sets forth.
However, all of that falls flat on the face when you lose your reader midway.
Worse, when your reader loses all sympathy for the protagonist.
Worse still, when she simply continues reading because she’d decided not to abandon books midway after being guilty of that (a lot) in the last year.
So, there you have, the recipe for a well written but not necessarily an enjoyable book!
How does that happen, you ask?
Well, for starters, you keep repeating yourself.
See, I get that the protagonist suffers from mental illness, and a rare one at that. Agoraphobia. The fear of leaving the confines of your house. And for so long, I thought agoraphobia just denoted, the fear of large crowds or crowded places!
Anyway, so one, she has this very limiting condition and second, she’s a raging alcoholic.
What happens in the process is that she keeps repeating herself. Over and over and over. And then you reach a point where you feel like screaming into the void every time you hear the word, merlot! Arrrgghhhhhh!!
And then, her description of the entire day, of her neighbours, and at a lot of places, that of the vintage black and white movies going on in her TV.
I mean, at one point, I was like, seriously, you’ll be describing scenes from movies now?!
What was the editor doing?
Or maybe, I just wasn’t sophisticated enough to understand the nuanced nature of such a narrative!
Whatever, it bored me to death!
And then at around 70% of the book, when a BIG twist came, I kind of figured it out miles away. Because, I was so bored that I had started picking things apart myself!
Yes, the explanation of why she was the way she was, etc. was brilliant and tragic but by that time, I had no compassion left to spare the protagonist. All I wanted was the book to end!
(And trust me, it takes a lot of effort to make me lose sympathy about something. Even a lost puppy video on YouTube makes me cry!)
By the time the climax arrived, though it was a good one, I frankly had stopped feeling anything at all. I even took a peek into my next read, which I was by then eager to start reading.
Hence, I might go ahead to say that this book was not my cup of tea.
Do I dare say that even though the writing of The Girl on the Train wasn’t this great I still liked it better? Because it had a tighter plot and not for once was I bored!
Maybe, as a budding writer this is a lesson I should take from this book.
No matter how lovely your language, if you cannot hold the reader’s attention, they wouldn’t care!
Would I recommend it? Nope, there are far better books in this genre (Tana French, if you are looking for both literary worth and twisted plots) and even books like The Girl on the Train or The Luckiest Girl Alive, are way better in terms of capturing the reader’s interest, than this one.
The Woman in the Window is a relatively big book and you have limited time. If I could go back in time, I might have picked up something else.
My rating for this book: 3 on 5.
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