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review 2018-03-03 03:53
Into the Water
Into The Water - Paula Hawkins,Laura Aikman,Sophie Aldred,Rachel Bavidge

So, there is a swimming hole know as "the drowning pool."  In the 1600s, teenage girls and women accused of witchcraft were drowned there.  Since then, it's been a place of a string of other mysterious deaths--suicides, murders, undetermined.  The most recent woman to be found dead in the pool is Nel Abbott, who had been working on a manuscript about the women and girls who had died in it over the years, and this on the tail of 15-year-old Katie Whittaker's suicide.  These deaths are one-two punch for Lena Abbott, Nel's daughter and Katie's best friend.  And suddenly Jules, Nel's estranged sister and Katie's last remaining family member, arrives to look after the niece she has never known.


This book ended up leaving me kind of cold.  It is told from the multiple perspectives of a large cast, some narrated in first person, while others are in a more detached third.  The "Jules" sections are often dominated by Jules addressing as "you" her dead sister.  Not my favorite device.  Also interspersed are several excerpts from Nel's manuscript, The Drowning Pool. Although I mostly listened to the audio version, I quickly picked up the hardcover, when I realized that early on I was fairly lost as to who the characters were.  Reading the early chapters in print helped pull everything into place, but even once I was used to the cast, I sometimes found myself needing to think a moment to remember who some of the characters were and how they were connected to other characters.


I did find myself interested in following through to the resolution, but I didn't find the resolution satisfying.

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review 2018-01-31 20:49
Best book
The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

had me at the edge of my seat


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review 2018-01-23 14:50
Last Year's News & Ella's Pet Peeves in Book Marketing
The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

Seems stupid to write a review of a book that everyone and their mother has read, but I'ma do it anyway.


This really could all be summed up with the note I wrote to myself privately on Goodreads:


Let's do it anyway:


I bought this early on the strength of a review and a really good marketing plan, read half then apparently forgot to finish it. My local library's reading challenge for January includes reading a book made into a movie, and I was a bit shocked to see this one in my Kindle, so I started again from the beginning, having no clue what I'd read before, and I finished it in a couple days.


Turns out, The Girl on the Train wasn't half bad. It's not the best I've ever read, best I bought in 2015 or even the best I've read this month. Nonetheless, it's a decent mystery with a nice fake-out or two, and I love an unreliable narrator. I usually love a character that everyone in the book hates, unless she makes me indifferent to her, which sort of happened here. If I could've rooted more for Rachel, I might have been more invested. Oh well.


Now my two quibbles pet peeves: For all the women in it, it sure doesn't pass the Bechdel or any other feminist test I'm aware of. In fact, the women in this book are universally jealous, petty and horrid to each other -- even the so-called friends and especially where men are concerned. Hell, even the policewoman isn't very nice to other women. Grown women being so angry at each other for a man's infidelity or lack of trust, argh -- that time needs to pass from books right now. I'm tired of watching or reading about these women. I don't know women like this anymore, and I don't like them in books either. It's immature at best, pathetic and gross at most.


Quibble Pet Peeve number two is the word "literature" used to market this one. That word is supposed to mean something, and it's not about topping the best seller lists for a year. Popularity is great, but it's not the same as literary. Everyone expects a certain originality and quality to the writing that will make it stand the test of time when something is marketed as "literary fiction." (Though maybe more people will try the literary word if they think it's all like this?) Anyway, genre fiction can be literature. There are some wonderful works of literary fiction that are psychological thrillers or fantasy, mystery, western, horror, whatever. This isn't one of them. It's an indulgence, a treat, fun and relaxing read with real suspense at times. I'll make a bet The Girl on the Train will not end up part of any lasting literary canon.



picture of Amazon listings


Literature means "writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest" or "written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit." As it was explained to me when I kept saying "I like this kind of book" and didn't know how to find more, literature has a way of exploring how we relate to the world, rather than a story told about the world. I'm not sure this little treat fits there. No new or lasting views are found here beyond a good story, and that's fine. Again, I point out that I'd read half of this two years ago and remembered zilch about it. Not a lasting effect. If my Kindle hadn't had a bookmark and a "last place" marker, I would've sworn I didn't 1) own the book and 2) never opened it. Just don't sell me a book under false pretenses! I buy plenty of mystery books that are far from literary or even good, actually.


Despite these "quibbles," it was good entertainment. I'm not upset I took the time to read it.


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review 2018-01-05 00:17
The Girl On The Train
The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

I did really enjoy reading this book and found it very hard to put down. I enjoyed the concept of each character telling the story but I was getting confused with going backwards and forwards with the dates. I did also like the fact that I was able to picture in my head how I imagined the characters to be like. 

I was a bit disappointed with the ending of the book as once I knew what the big twist was the rest of the book was a bit deflated. 


I would definitely recommend this book.

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review 2017-10-28 15:52
Into the Water is All Wet
Into the Water: A Novel - Paula Hawkins

Trigger warning: rape


After "The Girl on the Train" I should have passed on reading this. But I figured I would give Paula Hawkins one more try. This book was all over the place with too many characters and motivations to keep straight. The writing was not good, nor was the flow. Also I picked out who did it straight away so that wasn't even a surprise. There is a lack of descriptions of people and the setting through the whole book. It doesn't even reads taking place in England by the way. Just some faceless town that sounds way too "American". Also there's barely any dialogue between characters. Enjoy reading inner monologues all over the place. 


"Into the Water" is supposedly about a woman named Jules, called back to a summer place she and her family stayed at while growing up. Jules sister Nel is found dead, an apparent suicide. However Jules doesn't believe her sister committed suicide. Be prepared though for Jules to not really do a thing about that and spend the majority of the book "talking" to her sister and relieving a traumatic event that caused her to cut her sister off from her as an adult. 


There's about 10 other character POVs we get in this one by the way. Besides Jules we have her niece Lena, Lena's friend who committed suicide younger brother Josh and his mother Louise. We have the local police (two of them) the local policeman's wife and father. Lena's school teacher, and a local psychic. I feel like I'm blanking on someone, but I can't even recall at this point. That's way too many people to track while reading. There's absolutely no development since each chapter POV is around 3 pages long. Just know everyone but Josh is terrible in some way. 


Ultimately we have Nel's death leading to consequences for a lot of characters in this book Nel seemed hell bent writing a book about the local swimming hole that had a lot of deaths attached to it. When a young girl who was best friend's with Lena dies, many blame Nel's research as making suicide fascinating to teens. 


The writing was not great. I can see why each chapter needed the character name since after a while all the characters sounded the same. We also get excerpts from Nel's book in between some chapters that also makes things confusing. The flow was non-existent since jumping every few pages to another character makes it hard for the plot to progress. 


The setting of this book is some English town though at times I thought I was reading about some town in New England. I don't know why but when I think of witches being drowned which is about one of the stories that Nel is writing about, I automatically think of Salem. It doesn't help that we don't really get a sense of the town or the place or anything else because none of the character seem to pay attention to anybody but themselves. It's just disappointing because I think there was a very good glimmer of an idea in this book that just got lost because there was way too much going on. 


Ultimately I think that just maybe this book was a bit too rushed that people were trying to build on the success of "The Girl on the Train." I mean I'm one of those few readers that thought that book was just overblown hype and wasn't as good as everybody else kept talking about. And I definitely don't think this book is good at all. If you're going to read it I suggest you get it from the library and you don't waste your money on on this. There's better thriller books out there I think that are going to be worth your time.

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