Beth's Book Review

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

a4ad1b28fe8e96b60999_Woman_in_the_Window.jpg
a4ad1b28fe8e96b60999_Woman_in_the_Window.jpg

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” Oops, that's not what she meant, I realized when I finished the mostly engaging novel. But, I will get back to this thought a little later in my review.

The premise of The Woman in the Window is solid. After an extremely traumatic event, Dr. Anna Fox, a psychiatrist who specializes in the mental issues of children, has been shut in her house. Anna is suffering from “Agoraphobia: In translation the fear of the marketplace, in practice the term for a range of anxiety disorders.” (p. 26) Every time Anna tries to leave her home, panic attacks overwhelm her, and she collapses from the fear of being outside the safe cocoon of familiar ground.

Sign Up for E-News

Anna spends her days doing four things; she drinks wine, starting at breakfast, she views old movies, particularly suspense thrillers like The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, and Gaslight, she treats people who are shut-ins like her on a website that she has established, using the handle thedoctorisin, and she is a voyeur, peeking out of her window, watching her neighbors, an act that calls to mind the suspenseful Hitchcock film, Rear Window, which starred Jimmy Stewart. Stewart's character has been house bound due to a broken leg, and confides what he witnesses to his gorgeous girlfriend, portrayed by Grace Kelly.

The homage to Hitchcock's masterpiece is unmistakeable as the reader gets caught in Anna's web of suspicions about the new neighbors who have moved into the renovated area of Harlem, across the park from Anna's home. Alistair and Jane Russell have joined the neighborhood with their teenage son, Ethan, whom Anna often watches at night as he sits at his computer. Anna witnesses a violent event that occurs in the Russell's home, but when she calls the police, they do not believe her due to her condition, and the fact that she is heavily self-medicating, not only with wine which she has delivered to her home by the case, but by prescription pain killers which help treat an undisclosed physical injury.

For the most part the novel really works. Aside from a relationship that Anna begins to cultivate with young Ethan across the park, and a pleasant encounter with his mother, Jane, Anna has a handsome tenant, who lives in her basement and pays rent to help Anna offset expenses. Her husband, Ed, has moved out of the house and taken their only child, Olivia, with him, much to Anna's dismay. The reason for their estrangement is not revealed for most of the book, and the question of their relationship hangs over the story like a nagging toothache.

Anna begins to experience a bit of “gas lighting” herself. Mysterious and onerous things begin to happen in her home. A picture of herself sleeping during the night is sent to her on her phone, and things disappear from her household, and then return. The police theorize that Anna has gone off the deep end and may be doing these things to herself. Anna is frustrated by the fact that no one believes her and even she begins to question her grip on reality.

A.J. Finn, whose real name is Daniel Mallory, is an Oxford graduate and former book critic and editor. His skills as a wordsmith are excellent; the book is well written and holds the reader's attention throughout. It doesn't quite hold one of the edge of her seat, but it's a good read . . . up until the ending.

So now back to what my friend meant when she said that she wished that she hadn't finished the book. The book's ending is so predictable and flat that it disappoints on every level, and for an author who spent time as a critic and editor, that is a perplexing problem. There is actually no climax to the novel, when there really could have been, and about thirty pages of denouement that were so boring that I really didn't care what happened to Anna, or any of the other characters for that matter.

The thing about the classic suspense movies is that they hold the viewer on the edge of the seat until the last nail biting moment fades into the film's credits. We identify with the character as he or she is terrorized during the story. Unfortunately, Finn failed to pack the emotional wallop that a thriller really needs.

Beth Moroney, former English teacher and administrator in the Edison Public School District, specialized in teaching Creative Writing and Journalism. Recently Moroney published Significant Anniversaries of Holocaust/Genocide Education and Human/Civil Rights, available through the New Jersey Commission on the Holocaust. A passionate reader, Moroney is known for recommending literature to students, teachers, parents, and the general public for over forty years. Moroney can be contacted at trackdak19@hotmail.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Bloomfield

National Weather Service Issues Heat Advisory Through 6 p.m. Tuesday July 17

July 16, 2018

NEW YORK, NY, - The National Weather Service issued a 'Heat Advisory' this morning for Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Union and Hudson Counties in New Jersey. The heat advisory will remain in effect from noon Monday July 16 until 6 p.m. Tuesday July 17.

Extreme heat can cause illness and death among at- risk population who cannot stay cool. The heat and humidity may cause heat stress during ...

Rockstar Racecar Tour To Stop in Bloomfield

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Rockstar Racecar, the Bloomfield based punk glam rock band, will take take from performing on the road to make two appearances in the township.

On Friday July 13, Rockstar Racecar will perform at the BRG at 54 Broad St at 5:45 p.m.

On Wednesday Aug 8, they will perform at Bloomfield Center Cruise Nights on Broad St at Bloomfield Ave at 7:30 p.m. 

 

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_f509c18dfe9bf7382799_whole_foods_flyer_west_orange_2018_july_16

Mon, July 16, 1:00 PM

Whole Foods Market - West Orange, West Orange

West Orange Emergency Blood Drive - 1st 30 donors ...

Giving Back Health & Wellness

Tue, July 17, 2:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Rizzo’s Wildlife Discovery

Education Green

Carousel_image_b20a8250917845925251_mini_magick20180715-93558-18g5bx1

Tue, July 17, 5:00 PM

Caldwell University Alumni Theater, Caldwell

Public Invited to Essex County Opioid Use ...

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_967d6f84545049a66b3f_giacometti_nose

Tue, July 17, 7:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Giacometti

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, July 18, 10:00 AM

Cancer Center Resource Room, Belleville

Living Well with Parkinson’s Disease Support ...

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_7611ce284a8c86d65b64_37d34f9a-c5cd-4fb1-8bf8-b5b7319cb94e

Wed, July 18, 10:00 AM

Paterson Board of Education , Paterson

Teacher Job Fair

Education

Bloomfield Police Department Blotter June 25 to July 1, 2018

July 6, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The following police blotter has been issued by Lt. Anthony Sisco of the Bloomfield Police Department.

Shoplifting:

6/26/18- Robert Jimenez Age 37 of Paulsboro, NJ-Officers were dispatched to 60 Orange Street (Home Depot) on report of a shoplifter in custody. Mr. Jiminez was observed attempting to leave the store with unpaid merchandise valued at $417.00. He was ...

Ironbound Residents Plea for Parking at Zoning Board Meeting

July 15, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - The city zoning board of adjustment yesterday approved variances for one of three new residential Ironbound developments despite a group of residents voicing concerns over parking.

The board approved variances for YK Group Development Consulting, based in Newark and Lakewood, to build a four-story 28-residential unit development at 526-532 Mulberry St. with 16 on-site parking ...

Nutley Police Rescue Woman Locked in Burger King Restaurant

NUTLEY, NJ - Officers from the Nutley Police Department responded to a 911 call on Sunday at 5 a.m. from a woman who was locked in the Burger King restaurant off Franklin Ave.

The woman fell asleep in the ladies room sometime prior to closing and woke up only to find all of the employees gone and the doors locked. 

Nutley police responded and entered the building to allow her to leave.

Downtown Scotch Plains May Eventually Look Like Princeton, According to Redevelopment Committee Feedback

July 16, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Residents who attended the Scotch Plains Downtown Redevelopment Committee (SPDRC) meeting on Wednesday night got a peak into what the future of the township will look like… and it looks a lot like Princeton.

Tom Strowe, the Township’s Project Coordinator for Redevelopment, presented findings of the recent survey on architectural styles. More than 2,100 ...

New Trolley System to Connect Downtown Paterson with Great Falls

PATERSON, NJ- Standing beside two diesel powered trolleys on the site that the Paterson Art Factory calls home on Tuesday, Mayor Andre Sayegh showed that he is wasting no time in moving ahead on efforts to make the Great Falls, and the area around it, the centerpiece of the city’s much anticipated resurgence.

Calling the Art Factory a “partner”, Sayegh offered his ...

Belmar: Hub of Fun from Dawn to Dusk on July 18

July 15, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — From sandcastles to classic cars, Belmar will be hosting two marquee events on Wednesday, July 18.

While the 32nd Annual New Jersey Sandcastle Contest will converge upon the beachfront during the day, Belmar Cruise Night will move onto Main Street in the evening. Here’s a look at each destination event.

Sandcastle Contest: Begins at 8 a.m. at 18th Avenue ...

Festival of the Sea at St. Francis in Brant Beach August 8-12

BRANT BEACH - Everyone enjoys the excitement of a summer carnival.  It brings out the child in all of us.  Since 1975, St. Francis of Assisi Parish has been hosting the Festival of the Sea Carnival, annually.   The Festival of the Sea begins Wednesday, August 8, and continues through Sunday, August 12. The carnival will be open nightly (weather permitting) from 6:00 to ...

Entrepreneurs Continue Bloomfield's Centuries' Old Pioneering Tradition

July 5, 2018

To the Editor:

The initial patent for the land that would become Bloomfield Township was granted to the English Puritan colonists of Newark, and the area assigned to Essex County in 1675, and Newark Township in 1693. From the 1690s to about the 1720s, much of the northern and eastern land was sold to descendants of New Netherland colonists who had settled Acquackanonk, and the remainder mostly ...

Bringing Affordable Housing to New Jersey

It is no secret that the cost of living in New Jersey is among the highest in the nation. Coupled with a severe shortage of affordable housing, many of our residents struggle every day to make ends meet. The state would have to provide at least 155,000 new units of affordable housing by 2025 to meet the need for more housing.

Municipalities have not received guidance on how to create and ...

Thursday Movies Continue to the end of July at the Bloomfield Public Library

July 19, 2018 - BLACK PANTHER This American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name is a financial and critical blockbuster! After the death of his father, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T'Challa's resilience as king - and as ...

Monday Movies Continue Through The End of July

July 16, 2018 - SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME

Successful businessman Ron Hall (Greg Kinnear) and his wife, Deborah (Renee Zellweger), discover a renewed sense of purpose when they begin to volunteer at a local mission in Fort Worth, Texas. Their lives change forever when they develop an unlikely friendship with Denver Moore (Djimon Hounson), a homeless man who inspires them to save their ...

The Jaffe Briefing - July 12, 2018

WAYNE - Honey! Cancel our Aug. 9th anniversary dinner! I've got other plans! That's the night you can join this bozo and scores of others at "Lace," a Wayne "gentleman's club" where America's favorite tramp - Stormy Daniels - will strip live and in person. Stop at the bank, trade in your wad of 20s for stacks of singles.

Lucia, Lucia by Adriani Trigiani

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2003)

 

If a summer romance novel is what you are craving to read as you sit by the pool or beach, Adriana Trigiani's Lucia, Lucia is a perfect choice. Set in 1950 New York City, the novel is about a young woman, Lucia Sartori, who is determined to have a career and be able to support herself, an unusual choice for a girl who was ...

The Anatomy of Escape by Mike Blue

The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure by Mike Blue (Available on Amazon)

 

Imagine that you could just say, “Chuck it,” and walk away from the bonds that keep you tied to what Mike Blue, author of The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure, defines as the restrictive Work-Consume-Die cycle. To most of us, becoming what Blue terms “a ...

The Death of Koko the Gorilla

Koko's Kitten, Koko's Story, The Eduction of Koko all by Dr. Francine Patterson

 

Last night when I heard about the death of Koko, the lowland gorilla who was educated to communicate through American Sign Language by Dr. Francine Patterson, I went numb with grief. I have followed the life of Koko, her two gorilla companions, Michael and Ndume, as well as Dr. Patterson for forty ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey

July 12, 2018

How often do you read TAPinto?  Have you downloaded the TAPinto APP?  These are a few of the questions for readers in our 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

We want to hear from you!

The survey will take less than five minutes to complete and will help TAPinto better serve you. 

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

Thank you.  We appreciate your support and ...

Starting and Managing Your own Small Business in New Jersey

UNION, NJ - Learn about what it takes to start a business in New Jersey - and what it takes to succeed at SCORE's seminar on July 19.  

The seminar takes place Thursday July 19 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Unity Bank 952 Stuyvesant Ave Union NJ 07083 

Space is limited, attendees are asked to register by July 16. 

This seminar is $35, which includes a copy of our ...

Butterfly Tent Safari Coming to Essex County Environmental Center

ROSELAND, NJ – The public can experience the “Butterfly Tent Safari” at the Essex County Environmental Center. The Butterfly Tent Safari is an interactive display where visitors can observe hundreds of butterflies while walking through a tent. It will be held as ...

Obituaries

Mar 9, 1978 - Jul 13, 2018
Christopher J. Barra, Sr., lifelong resident of Bloomfield, passed away on July 13, 2018 at the age ...
Read more
Jun 10, 1983 - Jun 17, 2018
Ryan M. Lucas, 35 Proud Marine Veteran and Nutley Firefighter Ryan M. Lucas, a lifelong ...
Read more

The End of Jets Mini-Camp

After a week of crystal clear cerulean skies over 1 Jets Drive, the New York Jets just wrapped up their mandatory full squad mini-camp.

New York Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles held press conferences after practices last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Jets fans have lots of questions at this time of year on what to expect from their team this fall. The press questions covered a wide ...