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.
Of course I heard about this book when it was published and it started making waves, but the description didn’t really make me put in on my wish list. But then, a few weeks ago, the movie trailer came out. And I don’t think more than 5 seconds passed between watching it and going on Amazon to get the book. All of a sudden, I just HAD to read it!
Now the sad part is that after reading the whole thing, I’m just as unimpressed as I was after reading just the synopsis. The main idea of the storyline is interesting, yes. The writing is fine. And there are even a few cliffhangers from a chapter to another, or at least some suspense is going on here and there. I’m usually a very big fan of observing the daily, mundane habits of the characters, so in the beginning, I actually enjoyed following Anna going round and round in the same small circles, over and over again. But at some point, the chaos of Anna’s mind becomes… plain boring. There’s simply not enough to keep you motivated, not enough to keep you enjoying the experience and so, reading feels more like a task rather than a pleasure. I actually didn’t check how many pages the book has but it certainly felt like way too many!
By the time I finally reached the ending, I was so bored and uninterested that the supposedly shocking discoveries from the last pages didn’t even make me blink. The only feeling I got was being relieved to finish it and move on to something more interesting.
Just to be totally fair, I have to mention one thing: despite not being impressed with the story overall, I did find inside of it one of the most emotional descriptions that I recently encountered in my readings. There are exactly 3 rows in this book that are pure, raw, burning emotion. 3 rows that make swallowing difficult even now, after weeks had passed, that turn eyes hot and that actually make me happy that I did read this novel. I feel like it was worth going through all those pages only for those two sentences.
I know the majority of people’s reviews are not just positive, but overly excited. After all, if the public’s reactions wouldn’t be like this, they wouldn’t have turn it into a movie. So if you’re curious about the novel or if you’re planning to watch the movie, go ahead and get the book. Chances are, you’ll like it more than I did.