From A.J. Finn’s thriller – “The Woman in the Window”, I learned about agoraphobia – a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped. You fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line, or being in a crowd. Most people who have agoraphobia develop it after having one or more panic attacks, causing them to worry about having another attack and avoid the places where it may happen again. People with agoraphobia often have a hard time feeling safe in any public place. The fear can be so overwhelming that you may feel unable to leave your home.
The story of “The Woman in the Window” is similar to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”. Anna was a child psychologist. She was agoraphobic and had not left home for a year but she still gave consultation to her patients online. She watched classic movies, the novel is filled with lots of movie dialogue which I feel confusing sometimes. She claimed she was separated from her husband and daughter, but I might read too many thrillers, I know they were dead from the beginning. Those small talks were just her imagination. Anna drank a lot, mostly merlot, and she also liked to spy on her neighbors. One day, a new family – the Russells (husband, wife and their teenager son), moved in.
Anna spied the Russells through her binoculars and witnessed the wife being killed by someone. She reported to the police but another woman showed up and identified herself as the real wife. With no one believed her, Anna started the investigation herself. Again, I might read too many thrillers, it’s not hard to figure out the logic. Warning: spoiler alert for the rest of this paragraph. If the woman being murdered was not the wife, she was someone else related to the Russells family. Anna found the woman’s earring in her tenant’s room (Anna had a tenant who lived in her basement), then she was the girl who had a relationship with her tenant and she was in Anna’s house most of the time. In order to build up the suspense, A.J. Finn tried too hard to make the readers think the killer is either the husband, the real wife or Anna’s tenant. But it’s quite obvious who the killer is if you exclude all these characters.
If you like “The Girl on the Train”, you will probably like “The Woman in the Window”. But to me, it’s not a present read. I was struggled to follow a depressed agoraphobic woman who was stuck in her house, took her medication with alcohol and wandered between dream and reality most of the time. A few times Anna forced herself to go outside and developed the symptoms of agoraphobia, I just sighed … oh no. The story line is not new and it can’t offer me the surprises at the end. But it’s just my opinion, if you want to spend time with a reasonable novel, “The Woman in the Window” may be a good pick among the thrillers in 2018. By the way, its movie rights were already acquired and the film will be released next year.