The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
The Woman in the Window is best-selling thriller that has already been adapted into a film starring Amy Adams and Julianne Moore. With the film coming out in the fall (which sounds amazing by the way), I wanted to make sure I read the book first. But I was left with some polarizing thoughts.
The Good: The novel's protagonist is Dr. Anna Fox, a child psychologist who has become an alcoholic recluse. This is what initially hooked me: how can someone who understands the mind and emotional issues so well become dependent on alcohol to deal with their own issues? How can someone who specializes in healing and helping people overcome debilitating habits be too afraid to leave their home? As you keep reading, you come to doubt Anna's own emotional stability, which makes this an intriguing and ironic read. Its these things that make you want to keep reading.
The Bad: Maybe it's because at the time of reading The Woman in the Window, I was in the middle of reading several thrillers over the course of one month. Since this novel came at the end of my little experiment, maybe I was just jaded and desensitized. But I saw the first twist coming. And it took way too long to get to the novel's biggest twists. Unlike Sometimes I Lie, which was shorter than the typical thriller, but used that time to engage the reader, keep them guessing but then got to the point, The Woman in the Window went on a bit too long for my taste. There are also too many references to classic noir films, which are a nice touch, but a little insulting to the audience. These references could have been cut in half and you would still understand that Anna's life has become the noir mystery she enjoys watching on her television so much.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, there's the issue of the author himself. A.J. Finn is actually a pseudonym for Dan Mallory, a book editor who did some deplorable things in order to gain media attention for The Woman in the Window (you can read more about these things here). Not only did he lie about his background, but he also plagiarized the majority of The Woman in the Window without attribution and claimed his brother and mother were dead (they're not). Even worse, when he was caught in his lies, he blamed his behavior on a bipolar II diagnosis, a slap in the face to the millions of people who struggle with this disorder but still maintain honest, responsible lives.
Given the attention this book received, I was expecting more. Even before reading about the actions of A.J. Finn/Dan Mallory, I think this is another example of a book that just didn't quite live up to the hype in my opinion.
If you want to check out The Woman in the Window for yourself and tell me what you think about it, you can purchase your own copy here: