by Paula Hawkins
Published May 2nd, 2017 by Riverhead Books
I cannot even begin to imagine the pressure Paula Hawkins must have been in after the massive success of The Girl on the Train. It was such a huge hit that I could understand if she didn’t release a book after it. I mean, look at Gillian Flynn after Gone Girl and E.L. James after the Fifty Shades Series, the expectations from the public would be too much and certainly too hard to match.
The thing with pressure is that it pushes you to do something that no one would expect from you. You want to wow people so you push boundaries, trying to give the audience something different and fresh.
I feel like that was what happened with Into the Water. The bad reviews were up long before the book’s release date and I couldn’t help but cringe. What does that do to the morale of a writer? She had one huge success, a book that was even adapted into a film with an amazing cast, and then this.
I almost did not pick it up because of all the disappointing reviews I read from reviewers I love and trust. But I listened to the inner voice that told me to read it for myself and I actually enjoyed the book. I guess that’s what happens when you go into a book with such little expectations that you automatically don’t hate it.
Now, this book is not to be put in the same category as The Girl on the Train. Yes, they are from the same author but as I said earlier Paula Hawkins really tried to deviate from what she gave to the world with The Girl on the Train. The only similar things with the books are the recurring themes of memory and perception but the delivery and general feel of it was different.
I understand why so many people had an issue with the characters in the book; they were too many. This could present a problem when a reader has to keep on trying to place who a certain character is and at what point in the book they encountered them. This not only slows you down but it can make some readers abandon the book because it’s too much work.
But I did like this writing style with the many POVs. It almost felt like I was watching an intricate TV show with the different characters in the small town, each with their own stories that somehow interlock. That doesn’t mean I didn’t need some help remembering some of the characters after putting down the book for some days, but once I got going I was good again.
The book did not really read like a mystery to me. The whole thing felt more like a women’s fiction with how much Hawkins concentrated on the people of the small town and their ties to the water. That tension that was present in The Girl on the Train was absolutely not there in this one. I did not want to immediately know what happened that made the victims end up in the water.
With that being said, the ending was a dull one. I don’t know if it’s the development of the story that made the ending seem so bland or it was the nonexistent excitement on my part that made it so. Either way, the ending had no shock factor. By the time I got to there, my reaction was more like “finally!”
SPOILER AHEAD! Is it really a spoiler though? I don’t think so.
My main issue with this book is the fact that the author seems to have something towards big people. I remember reading The Girl on the Train and the same thing popped up. I remember sharing it with my sister because it came out of nowhere. I wish I had my copy with me but it was something in the lines of:
“Poor Fat Amy.”
In this book, she keeps on referencing on how fat Jules was. It made me so uncomfortable because it was not a major part of the storyline, very unnecessary.
“She must be adopted. There’s no way that fat bitch is Nel Abbott’s real sister.”
“My shapeless white bulk didn’t slink anywhere.”
“I will never be rid of it, all this awful flesh.”
“Too big for the spaces I inhabited, always overflowing.”
I could go on and on but I’ll stop there. It just felt like something that was being forced into the storyline, something that was intended to be big and meaningful by the end of the book but it failed.
I would recommend this book to people who have the time to get through it in the shortest time possible. This is not the type of book that you can get away with a chapter a day. You will probably wind up getting lost.
A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.
Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.