Author: Paula Hawkins
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Read: May 2017
There are so many different viewpoints and characters in this book, but Hawkins barely does any of them justice. I don’t mind large casts of characters when they’re done right, but it was extremely hard to follow from the beginning and I didn’t find the story compelling.
Into the Water is a story about Beckford’s violent history of being a hotspot for women who commit suicide in the river. It opens with mother Nel Abbott, a woman who has always been intrigued by the women who have died in the river, showing up dead after having thrown herself off a cliff. There are questions about whether this relates to the earlier suicide of Nel’s daughter’s best friend and a huge cast of related characters emerges to narrate the story.
Like I said, I didn’t find the premise of the “suicide river” very compelling, it’s pretty obvious that some of these deaths weren’t actually suicide, and I thought the whole novel was poorly executed. The red herrings seemed obvious to me and I found the pace of the novel very slow.
Overall, most of the characters were unlikable. I don’t have a problem with unlikable characters as long as they’re compelling, but these weren’t. I thought Nickie and her sister added very little to the story, as did Josh. I felt like Louise and Helen could have both been interesting characters, but since we had to share their plots with a dozen other characters, they felt pretty flat to me and were lacking development.
I did enjoy Jules and Lena, but Lena’s character development was pretty lacking as well, leaving Jules as the only character that I thought showed any growth. Jules is Nel Abbott’s sister and they had a falling out 20 years previously over a shared misunderstanding. I thought it was a good portrayal of how things that happen to us as children can colour our entire life view and create family rifts that seem impossible to heal.
Anyways, I liked, didn’t love, Girl on the Train, so this was a definite step down for me, but I’m sure it’s still going to get lots of hype. I wouldn’t recommend.