Anna Fox has spent the last ten months in her Harlem home, trapped inside her anxiety called agoraphobia, never venturing outside. She’s a former child psychologist but stays busy with an online group where she dispenses free advice to other adults seeking direction. When not online or getting physical therapy, she keeps track of her neighbors from her window. Her husband and six-year old daughter don’t live with her anymore but she’s in regular contact with them. It’s not clear what caused her phobia but Anne regularly mixes alcohol with her prescribed medication. One night when she claims she witnessed something horrific happening in the Russell home across the way, her memory is called into question, even having her doubt herself.
One of my most favorite movies of all time is Hitchcock’s Rear Window and there are clear shades of that story here. However, the differences are distinctive, allowing this one to stand on its own. It slowly develops, taking its time in revealing what happened to Anna. At first I found it maddening but after a while, it was clear that event was an important element of what was happening in the moment. Anna was a tough character to get to know, even though it’s her narrative, because she “tipples” often and in great quantities. It’s not that she’s not truthful, and she is honest with herself almost to a fault, but her alcohol impaired brain makes you question her recall at times. Between the Russells, her basement tenant and the detectives assigned to investigate her claims, it was tough figuring out what were truths, lies and misdirections.
This story is the epitome of a psychological thriller and hard to believe it’s the author’s first. I’m so, so glad I listened to this story because the narrator, Ann Marie Lee, got everything right and most important of them all was the pacing and Anna’s voice. She just nailed both. It was like the perfect lead in to an exciting crescendo! I thought I knew what the big reveal was and, yes, I guessed one of them, but there were others that got by me. Should have seen them coming but there are some really good red herrings and other distractions, namely being convinced of something I didn’t first try on and analyze myself. This book was made into a movie starring Amy Adams, scheduled for release in May 2020 but now postponed because of the pandemic (see the trailer below). She’s going to be great as Anna and I plan to see it whenever because this book is perfect for film adaptation.
- Release Date: January 2, 2018
- Narrator: Ann Marie Lee
- Audio Length: 13 hours, 42 minutes
- Publisher: HarperAudio
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