Review: “the woman in the window” by AJ Finn (2018)

Confused.

Lost.

Agoraphobic.

Anna Fox, an online psychologist, lives in a family townhome set in Harlem, yet her family is not around. She talks to no one except her clients (on the computer), her family (on the phone), her cat, and the people who visit her: her neighbors and therapists. Due to a drastic accident a few months ago, she doesn’t leave her house; she just watches the world outside her window. During one of her drunken nights, she saw a murder happen in a house across the street. She called everyone, but no one believed her. There was blood everywhere. The body disappeared. No one had even heard of the victim. Did she hallucinate the whole thing, or did she just drink too much merlot?

the woman in the window isn’t a book you’ll ever forget. It was among the first books I read in 2018, and it’s still one of the most memorable. Since the start of the year, I’ve read 30 books, and out of those 30, “the woman in the window” has been the one that really stood out.

Under the pseudonym AJ Finn, Daniel Mallory does a brilliant job of writing a character with a mental illness with just the right amount of plot twists. This book managed to keep me reading up at all hours of the night just to see what would happen next. Also, while there weren’t always cliffhangers at the end of each chapter, if there ever was, they were worth the extra hour-or-two I stayed up past my bedtime.

Now, before we start to make assumptions on a thriller surrounding a female protagonist, this isn’t the usual story of a damsel-in-distress just trying to find the love-of-her-life. She’s actually trying to find more peace within herself, and continues to fight for her own sanity. Mallory made it a point of that, and while the summaries you can find are as vague as they should be, the characters manage to define themselves all on their own.


Characters:

First, there’s (obviously) Anna. She’s a 38-year-old therapist who lives alone in an expensive house in Manhattan. Her husband left with their 8-year-old daughter, and she only talks to them on the phone, along with all of her online clients. Other than her patients and her persistent calls to her husband to come back, her days consist of watching old black-and-white movies, people-watching, drinking 2-3 bottles of wine a day, all while having her groceries delivered, and her therapist coming for weekly “pushes” outside. So, needless to say, she’s quite content with what she goes through.

Then there’s her across-the-street neighbors, the Russells. Consisting of Ethan and his parents, they’re a mystery altogether. The Russell’s house is where she sees the murder take place, and it’s where the whole story starts to take a toll on Anna’s mind. Ethan, the 16-year-old boy who resides there, isn’t exactly a goodie-two-shoes, and neither are is parents. The Russells have always been nice to Anna, but to what extent?

Now, none of these characters are what they seem, and it gives the book the necessary twist it needs. This book is one of the few where you can’t really reveal too much of the plot without giving the whole story away, so you’ll just have to take my word on that.


A Little About the Author:

He’s kind of a piece of shit.

Want to know why?

Read this: The New Yorker


Before It Was Published:

This book definitely deserved the attention it received before it was even on the shelves. With a seven-figure sign-on bonus and movie deal, the woman in the window has been making waves in the publishing industry. The book’s ARC was reviewed by several other thriller novelists, such as Stephen King (barf), Gillian Flynn, and Paula Hawkins, which all resulted in similar forms of; “Un-put-down-able,” or ” I couldn’t stop reading.” Along with all of the praises it received, it was no surprise that it was the first debut novel in 12 years that ever made #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list (Newsweek).

Now, if that isn’t enough to make you want to go out and snag a copy, “the woman in the window” was sold over 15 million times as of October 2018, and I bought two of them.

 

Note: I’ve never actually had the urge to write a book review about a book I fell completely in love with before, so I’m going to create a new category on my blog purely for reviews. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing reviews about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer, YOU and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, Invisible Monsters Remix by Chuck Palahniuk, but before all of that I’ll round the 2018 off… with an overview of all the books I’ve read in 2018 (along with their ratings, and my stats for each one off of Bookly).

So! Keep up with me, so we can bring in the new year with plenty of reviews and high praises for a few brilliant authors!

Never. Stop. Creating.

07/20/2018

I’ve published 49 things over the span of four years. That’s it. 49. Well, now there will be 50. What started out as a basic journal, has turned into a plethora of things. Projects from school, NoWriSum (which I inevitably quit), and various other writings.

So, what about this deems me as a writer? On average, I’ve written 12-13 blogs each year… which sounds ridiculous. However, “writer” is still plastered on all of my social media platforms. I’m constantly talking about how I want to be a published author, yet I can’t sit down and write for the life of me. Does that mean I’m any less of what I claim to be? Well, I don’t think so…

The majority of my writing has been about things that have occurred in my life, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As Jake Gyllenhaal says in Nocturnal Animals,

“Writers don’t write about anything other than themselves.”

That isn’t direct, but it was something along those lines and it’s 100% true. I’m going to let you all in on a little secret… Madeline is a more extreme version of myself (read about her here in chapter one). She’s introverted, she has a long-haired cat, and she daydreams a lot. There’s more to her than just that, but ultimately the whole idea of Madeline has come from my main personality traits.

After I watched Gyllenhaal, (who, let’s face it, I’m madly obsessed with… especially in Nocturnal Animals), play a writer and use such relatable quotes, I’ve come across a few realizations:

(for anyone who creates, just replace your hobby with “write”)

  1. You don’t have to write every single day in order to be a writer. As long as you put your all into things you do write, you can deem yourself a writer all you want.
  2. Blogs are not just for the followers. Just because you think people aren’t reading it, doesn’t mean no one is.
  3. If you ask your friends to read your blogs or even drafts you’re unsure of, they most likely will if they really want to support you and your craft. I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure this out… but it turns out that it’s true.
  4. Writing isn’t meant to just give and give and give. Ultimately, you’re writing for yourself. So, if you love writing and just want to put all of your thoughts into a notebook/Word .doc, then do it! You don’t need to share your thoughts with the world if you don’t want to.
  5. Support goes two ways when you first start out, it’s all about spreading your work as far as you can. If you have friends/family who want support from you, ask them to read something you wrote in return.
  6. Don’t second guess! Writing is hard. Carving through mental blocks, rereading things in your own voice, or just opening up the laptop is hard. If anyone tells you otherwise, then they haven’t struggled to run a blog. It might come easy to some, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone.
  7. Writing comes in many forms. IT’S A FORM OF ART! Writing can be random poems, songs, cute paragraphs you write to your significant other or friends, vents you write in the notes section of your phone, or just random typography that you doodle in your notebook. Writing itself is subjective.
  8. Learning how to market is a must if you’re going to continue to pursue a lifestyle as a blogger/author. While it’s just as important to write for you if you’re going to take on writing as a career… it’s also important to share your blog wherever you can.

Unofficial ninth tip: Try to pull inspiration from anywhere you can! Producing quality photos for a bookstagram is just as important as the actual content. Create eye-catching photos, use editing software (Lightroom and VSCO are my go-to), and just have fun!

 

Ironically, while I write this… my bookstagram has remained on standstill for a little over a week, and the last blog I wrote was published a few days ago. However! This blog is also going to work as an advice/motivational piece for a later Danielle–which is always nice. So, I hope that whoever reads this uses it in the same way. Keep these tips in mind. They’re valuable tidbits I’ve received from friends, fellow bookstagrammers, bloggers, and classmates. Some of them are things I’ve told myself since I started my English Writing degree last May (’17). However, no matter where they’ve come from, they’re always going to be useful and to all my fellow artists, writers, poets, liberal arts majors, songwriters, or whatever else you deem yourself…

Never.

Stop.

Creating. 

I See You

I see you,

 With your green slitted eyes,

And your long pointy nails.


The way you move,

through the mulch,

and the way you eat,

I see you.


Scales,

Tails,

Nails and all,

I see you.


And even though,

Others are intimidated by you,

I want to hold you,

And the anticipation,

 is killing me.


I watch you through,

The glass cage,

 that confines you.


I watch as you scurry,

When people take photos of you.


I’m one of those people.


It’s been almost six

years.

Since I’ve found

my love and

fascination towards you.


I have a list of names

in my phone

already ready for you.


So,

blue iguana,

sitting on top of your house,

made of logs,

in the middle of Petco.

I see you.


And I’m almost ready,

to bring you home.