Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Into the Water (ITW going forward) by Paula Hawkins is a book about two women who have drowned in…the Drowning Pool. It is here, legend holds, that witches were drowned and countless women have committed suicide.
Early in ITW, Hawkins uses a compelling story-telling device. She tells the story in one character’s viewpoint, in the next chapter shows us the same events from another’s perspective, and then that character takes over the story until the next chapter. If this way of writing was sustained throughout, ITW would be spectacular! Unfortunately, this is not the case. Paula Hawkins, she of Girl on the Train fame, has written ITW from the point of view of ALL of the following:
Danielle ‘Nel’ Abbot (deceased) – via a manuscript of her unpublished book
Jules Abbot – sister to Nel Abbot (also called Julia often/confusingly)
Lena Abbot – daughter of Nel Abbot
Mark Henderson – teacher
Erin Morgan – inspector
Nickie Sage – charleton or medium
Helen Townsend – wife of Sean
Patrick Townsend – father of Sean
Sean Townsend – inspector
Josh Whittaker – brother to Katie
Louise Whittaker – mother of Katie
Lauren, Libby and Katie (deceased) – drowned women
(Feel free to print this list and use it while reading the book. It may be the only way you can remember everyone and how they relate to the story. I found myself looking back to earlier chapters to figure out who was speaking well into the middle of the book. While compiling the above list, I had to refer back to the book to figure out the cast and how they related to each other – even after finishing the book!)
Hawkins would have better served her characters, and her readers, had she focused solely on Jules’ and Lena’s viewpoints and Nel Abbot’s manuscript.
Having just finished reading, I can tell you that I am truly, deeply disappointed with this ending. The only real twist in ITW was related to the reason behind the two sister’s bitter, long-lasting feud. After this first startling reveal, I expected sweeping revelation after sweeping revelation to close out the novel. Unfortunately, I was only to be let down by the resolution of the rest of the story lines – and no remaining shocks, surprises, or twists to hold my attention to the end.
Read it? Let me know if you agree with my review in the comments below!