After seeing rave reviews of the novel is like the iconic “Gone Girl” which combines the highlights of old ligature and new. I had to give this novel a fair shot, and I’m still a bit undecided if I enjoyed it.
First, the book synopsis;
A woman named Anna Fox lives alone in New York City classic brownstone. Though, before this, she had a happy husband and daughter who after a having to deal with her acute agoraphobia, an anxiety-related disorder, caused a rift between the family and ultimately – the husband and daughter left. Nowadays, Anna spends her days chatting with strangers on the internet, drinking and watching movies, as well as almost creepily keep too many tabs on her neighbours. However, after a new family moves in and Anna misses her own, she suddenly realises that the Russell’s may be more malicious than one originally thought.
Just from that, this book sounded to be interesting, obviously inspired by Gone Girl, tale of personal issues combined with mysterious neighbours. In all honesty, this novel starts off like a Gone Girl knock off with the classic protagonist who is locked at home, doesn’t have a considerably normal social life, and enjoys sticking her nose into her neighbour’s personal lives. Along with that, the set up is on the lackluster side as it goes through a rundown of who the Russell’s are, Anna’s past life with her own family, her issues, her childhood therapy sessions, and constant emphasis’s being put on the ominous and shady tenant who is residing in the basement.
Predictability Turned into Twists and Turns
While the novel did start off as being predictable, it does start taking a turn and entering the realm of mystery as one of the movies that Anna is watching are events that are happening in her real world – if that makes sense. While it reads better than trying to explain, that twists are well done. At times, however, it is overshadowed by Anna’s own dialogue of constant self-gaslighting.
After getting over this, the novel continues own and begins to spiral down the path of mistrust to the int where Anna is constantly doubting her memories and previous actions after the realisation that she is truly alone. Plus, once Anna finally decides to go to the police, her seemly never-ending pile of wine and perception drugs fairs to be one of the biggest reason why they aren’t truly believing her story, even though the danger of the entire situation is steadily rising.
Despite the personal touches of Anna’s personality, this novel truly does read as another knockoff to a combination of Gone Girl as well as The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins. Though if you can get that mindset out of your head and read it as its own piece of work, then you can truly enjoy unearthing the layers of mystery of Anna and her dangerous neighbours.
On the upside, this novel isn’t just filled with constant talk of the neighbours. At points, you can see Anna’s motivation to grow and finally get outside of her apartment again. At one point, she even makes the effort to leave – which leads to a conversation with a neighbour and a night filled with drinking wine and playing chess with them. Overall, I’m going to have to give this novel 4.5. Seeing the mystery unfold as well as personal growth from Anna makes it a fun read – but the clear inspiration from other books is a bit too noticeable.