The Woman in the Window – a book review

February 18, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Jessica Laurenza

Secrets. Lies. Past trauma. Isolation. This neighbourhood is much more than meets the eye. 

New York Times best selling author, A.J. Finn presents The Women in the Window, a psychological thriller mixed with paranoia, delusion and chilling revelations. Living alone in New York City, Anna Fox spends her time watching old movies and watching the happenings of her neighbours, but mostly drinking wine. As an agoraphobic (the fear of wide open spaces), she is heavily medicated and never goes outside. So when she is grappling with an incident she saw through her window, police and neighbours question her credibility as a drunk, subdued, delusional woman. 

As most psychological novels go, the story starts off quite slow – building the character and establishing the setting of this particular home and its surroundings. It isn’t until about page 400, three quarters of the way through, that the story really starts gaining traction. Unlike a typical mystery novel, which is what I usually read, the plot line takes a while to pick up. But this is done intentionally, leaving just the right amount of detail in each chapter to keep you turning the pages. Because Anna lives alone, there isn’t a lot of dialogue in the first half of the novel. This is important to note if you’re more interested in stories which use conversations and relationships to propel the plot. 

For those who enjoy psychological thematics such as reality versus perception or mind versus body, this is a great read. Personally, I found the author spent too much time with descriptions, outlining what Anna did from the moment she woke up until the moment she went to sleep. Because she has a persistent daily routine, this became quite repetitive. But Finn does a stellar job at depicting Anna’s constant battle with her inner thoughts. Did she actually see something or was it the wine? Is someone in danger or are they the dangerous one? 

I really empathized with Anna as she was not only isolated in her house but in her thoughts. Her traumatic past further contributes to her constant battle inside her head. Although the deep dives into Anna’s psyche are deliberate, they take up a large portion of the story which is sometimes boring. Because she doesn’t leave her house either, the only setting the reader knows and understands is Anna’s home. Finn sometimes takes pages to describe a specific part of Anna’s house which I deem unnecessary and unimportant to the overall plot. 

It’s important to watch out for the date stamps that break up the story, spanning about a month from beginning to end. There are flashbacks intentionally strewn throughout the story but there is no timestamp to show that it’s a flashback. This is where I got confused because Finn would jump back and forth between past and present, so just be weary of that. 

The Women in the Window is like watching a ping-pong match, turning your head left and right trying to track the ball. Although quite slow at the beginning, Finn includes the slightest details that end up making a world of difference. This novel is set to be turned into a movie by the end of 2021. 

If you enjoy this story, you should read Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins or Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, two novels which were adapted into movies. 

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