"Into The Water" by Paula Hawkins
Like many book lovers, I was eagerly anticipating this follow up to the book-turned-movie The Girl on The Train. And, also like so many book lovers I know, I found this follow up to be largely disappointing.
Though topped with a stunning cover and summarized captivatingly on the dust jacket flap, Into the Water fell flat for me.
In her first book, Paula Hawkins crafted a tale with a relatively small cast of characters – and only one narrator. In this book, we were introduced to a village – a literal village – full of characters, and each was given a turn to speak.
This didn’t work.
While I have seen this technique used effectively, in this case, it wasn’t. The characters’ voices were too similar and their backstories were marginally developed at best.
Also problematic, I didn’t like any of them – save, perhaps, for the female detective, Erin, who I was likely only drawn to because she shares my name.
Sure, the protagonist in The Girl on the Train was a dumpster fire of a person, but at least you could understand why – which made her likable. These people were just…crappy. And the existence of so many crappy people within the confines of one village was a bit difficult to believe. (Yes, even in the era of a Trump presidency, I still have faith in the overall goodness of humanity)
I also felt that Hawkins missed a major opportunity. From the beginning, we were presented with the “drowning pool” – a place that has been imbued with such mysticism and importance that it becomes key within this text. This pool, where suspected witches once met their demises, has since had an almost inexorable pull on women – particularly “bad” women. It had so much potential, but it went unrealized.
The scenes set in and around the pool itself were the most compelling of the book. Had more been included, I think it would have vastly improved my enjoyment of this book as a whole.
As it is, Into the Water is passable, but certainly not something I would consider must-read.
Ultimately, I give it 2 out of 5 cocktails.
Or maybe I'm wrong... What do you think? Let me know in the comments, below.
Want to check this out on Goodreads? View this review and check out what I'm currently reading, here.