Larry H's Reviews > The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
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really liked it

I'm between 3.5 and 4 stars.

Paranoia, the destroyer
Self-destroyer, wreck your health
Destroy friends, destroy yourself
The time device of self-destruction
Light the fuse and start eruption

—The Kinks, Destroyer

Reading A.J. Finn's new, much-hyped thriller, The Woman in the Window , I had lots of paranoia-related songs running through my head (including Garbage's I Think I'm Paranoid and the line from Harvey Danger's Flagpole Sitta which goes, "Paranoia, paranoia, everybody's coming to get me..."), but I felt the above lyrics by The Kinks described this book's protagonist perfectly.

Anna Fox used to be a successful child psychologist. She used to have her life together—marriage, family, career—but 11 months ago, a trauma left her with agoraphobia, so she's been unable to step outside of her New York City home all this time. She spends her days watching black and white movies, playing chess and learning French online, drinking too much while ignoring or doubling up on her meds, and counseling others like her in an online forum for people with agoraphobia.

She also has a bit of a photography habit, which stems mostly from her interest in watching what is going on outside her home, particularly in the homes of her neighbors. She's seen some pretty interesting things, including the recent afternoon activities of Mrs. Miller, who moved in across the street with her husband.

"Watching is like nature photography: You don't interfere with the wildlife."

When a new family, the Russells, move in directly across the park from her, Anna is quickly transfixed by them. They seem almost perfect—husband, wife, teenage son. She meets the son first and then the wife, and is amazed at how much she enjoys the wife's company. And then one night, as she watches through their windows, Anna sees something her eyes cannot believe. She knows it's something horrible, something she must alert the police about, and even provide help herself.

And that's the moment when everything turns upside down. Did Anna actually see anything, or was it a hallucination from her medicine or the old movies she has seen over and over again? What is she to believe, her eyes or those who tell her what her eyes have or haven't seen? What, and who, is real? Does she have anyone or anything to fear?

This is a taut thriller that definitely hooked me from the get-go. I had a lot of questions as I read, and wondered how Finn was going to bring everything together. While I felt like the book borrowed a lot from other thrillers and even some of the old movies Anna watched, the suspense definitely gets under your skin, and you absolutely want to fly through the book to see what the truth really is. Throughout most of the book, Anna feels like an old woman, but that's because of her condition. I had to keep reminding myself how old she really was.

I felt like the whole story took a little too much time to play out—there were only so many times I could handle Anna's drunken binges, her not being believed by those she trusted, and her intense paranoia, which pushed everyone away. But there are some great twists here, some I didn't quite see coming and one I suspected (which disappointed me), and much like many thrillers and crime novels, the perpetrator spends far too much time explaining themselves and their motivations.

I read a lot of thrillers so I tend to be really cynical about them. This is a good one, and I'd imagine this one is going to have many people eagerly turning the pages and staying up late because they can't get enough!

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.
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Reading Progress

January 7, 2018 – Started Reading
January 7, 2018 – Shelved
January 8, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 52 (52 new)


message 1: by Maria (new)

Maria Great review Larry!
This sounds almost completely like The Girl on the Train... Is it very different or more of the same?


Larry H Maria wrote: "Great review Larry!
This sounds almost completely like The Girl on the Train... Is it very different or more of the same?"


Thanks, Maria! I'd say a little of both. Some good twists and turns but some very real similarities, too.


message 3: by Pouting (new)

Pouting Always I've seen some really good reviews for this one in like magazines and news items, not sure if I want to read it though


Julie I found this to be too predictable, but I still enjoyed it.


Susanne  Strong Great review Larry! You liked this one a lot more than I did but the story was intriguing.


message 6: by Amanda - (new) - added it

Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews Excellent review Larry!


Jennifer Masterson Great review, Larry! I’m listening to the audio of this one now. I’m happy to hear you thought it was good. It seems to be getting mixed reviews on GR.


message 8: by Esil (new) - added it

Esil Great review, Larry. There’s a lot of hype for this one so it’s helpful to read your review.


message 9: by Angela M (new)

Angela M Nice review , Larry ! I don’t read thrillers so I’ll be skipping this one . Hope the next thriller you read is a good one .


debra Wonderful review, Larry. I have this one on hold. There are a lot of mixed reviews on this title, and I am relieved that you enjoyed it.


Larry H Pouting wrote: "I've seen some really good reviews for this one in like magazines and news items, not sure if I want to read it though"

It's good, but if you've read other thrillers, it may seem familiar.


Larry H Julie wrote: "I found this to be too predictable, but I still enjoyed it."

Yeah, I thought it was a bit predictable in places, but it surprised me in others.


Larry H Susanne wrote: "Great review Larry! You liked this one a lot more than I did but the story was intriguing."

Thanks, Susanne! I was intrigued and thought the tension was really well done. I found Anna's character a little annoying after a while, and I wasn't surprised by the ending, but there was a twist I guess I was surprised by.


Larry H Amanda - wrote: "Excellent review Larry!"

Thanks, Amanda!!


Larry H Jennifer wrote: "Great review, Larry! I’m listening to the audio of this one now. I’m happy to hear you thought it was good. It seems to be getting mixed reviews on GR."

Thanks, Jennifer! I thought it was a good thriller, well-written, but predictable in places. Hope you enjoy!!


Larry H Esil wrote: "Great review, Larry. There’s a lot of hype for this one so it’s helpful to read your review."

Thanks, Esil. TONS of hype. I almost didn't read it because I thought I'd be disappointed given all of the hype, but it was a good, quick read. Not the best thriller I've read but worth a shot.


Larry H Angela M wrote: "Nice review , Larry ! I don’t read thrillers so I’ll be skipping this one . Hope the next thriller you read is a good one ."

Thanks, Angela! You probably make a better choice not reading them because so many are so much alike!!


Larry H debra wrote: "Wonderful review, Larry. I have this one on hold. There are a lot of mixed reviews on this title, and I am relieved that you enjoyed it."

Thanks, debra! It's a good one, not as good as others, but better than I expected it to be.


Tammy Great review, Larry! I liked this a lot but I read it before I began suffering from thriller burnout


Keshan Larry!! this review is awesome. And when i read your a review i want to read that book immediately..Why that happen :) its full with thrill..!!


message 21: by Kim (new)

Kim Dyer Great review! I ordered this from Book of the Month can't wait to read it.


message 22: by Kathi (new) - added it

Kathi Defranc Wonderful review!!


Cheri Fabulous review, Larry! I love that you used the lyrics from The Kinks! Now that song will be stuck in my head for a while!


message 24: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary Rey Great review, Larry. It's been one of the most talked about books so it's good to read your perspective before I check it out.


Dorie  - Traveling Sister :) Great review, there are a lot of good books coming out this month and a ton in February, at least the ones that I am into :)


message 26: by Debbie (new) - added it

Debbie Terrific review, Larry. I have this one. Not hot to read it after reading your review. I hate it when hyped books don’t deliver.


Larry H Tammy wrote: "Great review, Larry! I liked this a lot but I read it before I began suffering from thriller burnout"

Thanks, Tammy! Yeah, thriller burnout is really real, lol!


Larry H Keshan wrote: "Larry!! this review is awesome. And when i read your a review i want to read that book immediately..Why that happen :) its full with thrill..!!"

Thanks, Keshan! Hope you enjoy!


Larry H Kim wrote: "Great review! I ordered this from Book of the Month can't wait to read it."

Thanks, Kim! Hope you enjoy!


Larry H Kathi wrote: "Wonderful review!!"

Thanks, Kathi!


Larry H Cheri wrote: "Fabulous review, Larry! I love that you used the lyrics from The Kinks! Now that song will be stuck in my head for a while!"

Thanks, Cheri! Yeah, it's stuck in my head, too!


Larry H Rosemary wrote: "Great review, Larry. It's been one of the most talked about books so it's good to read your perspective before I check it out."

Thanks so much, Rosemary! I think there is definitely so much hype about this, and while it's not as great as I hoped, it's still very good.


Larry H Dorie wrote: "Great review, there are a lot of good books coming out this month and a ton in February, at least the ones that I am into :)"

Thanks, Dorie!!


Larry H Debbie wrote: "Terrific review, Larry. I have this one. Not hot to read it after reading your review. I hate it when hyped books don’t deliver."

Thanks, Debbie! Yeah, I figured all the kids are reading it, so I had to as well! LOL.


message 35: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Wow! Now I don’t know whether to read it or not! Hate to read about women on drunken binges.


message 36: by Brent (new) - added it

Brent Halsey Can someone please explain who Ethan's dad was supposed to be...? That part confused me....was it Ed???


Larry H Lisa wrote: "Wow! Now I don’t know whether to read it or not! Hate to read about women on drunken binges."

LOL, Lisa.


message 38: by Brent (new) - added it

Brent Halsey So no help?


Larry H Brent wrote: "So no help?"

Sorry, just saw this. Wow, I might have missed something because I didn’t even notice mention of his father which would cause suspicion that you raised. Maybe someone else can comment?


Madeline I agree with most of what you said except that to me, Anna doesn’t sound so much as an old woman, but a man.


message 41: by Brent (new) - added it

Brent Halsey On the rooftop, she says you're father was a doctor or therapist (or something) and he would call people "slugger" just like her husband did. Meeting the author AND Gillian F*cking Flynn at the writers museum tomorrow for "Author's first book" series!!!! Maybe I'll ask the source itself.


debra Think she said his father was an architect, and further embellished her knowledge with facts about Ed just to distract him.


suzanne g burns Ok get over yourself!


debra WTF?? Or maybe just- Get Well Soon??


Royce Houthuijzen Deciding whether to read this or not. After reading your review, I may give it a go. Thanks, Larry


Stuart McArthur Debra I agree. She was throwing in Ed details to disarm Ethan because she didn’t have enough true details about his father.


debra Stuart wrote: "Debra I agree. She was throwing in Ed details to disarm Ethan because she didn’t have enough true details about his father."

; ))


Jules McNubbin anyone who quotes the Kinks is alright with me :)


Rhonda B Great review Larry. I just read this book without any knowledge of reading reviews or even reading the cover page. Now I am sings paranoid songs thanks to your writing this.


message 50: by M$fortune (new)

M$fortune Ah, now I have Destroyer stuck in my head. That's not a bad thing. Maybe I'll check out this book after all.


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