Friday, June 23, 2017

Critical Commentary: "Into the Water" by Paula Hawkins

Remember the bestselling novel of a couple of years ago, "The Girl on the Train"?  I'm sure that you do, because it was number one on all best seller lists forever, so, I mean, who didn't read it?  I really liked that book and when I wrote of it in this space back in March, 2015, I said the following:

"Makes you look forward to Paula Hawkins' next book."

Well, Ms. Hawkins' next book has arrived, and I wish I could say that it's as good as "The Girl On The Train", but, alas, the sophomore jinx appears to have struck with "Into the Water".

The novel takes place in the current day in a small English town that sits upon a river, a river that seems to have a history of having women drown in it.  In my opinion, and the opinion of Mrs. Grandstander, who has also read it, the book  is a confusing mishigas of story-telling. It has too many characters, and the story is told from the points of view of each of the characters, some of it is written in the first person, some in the third person, and one character even tells the story in the second person.  Telling the story from different points of view worked in "Girl....", but it only adds to the confusion in "Into The Water".  Even when deep into the second half of the book, I had to stop and think at the beginning of each chapter "OK, which person is this telling the story in this chapter?"

I think that if this book was written by some author I knew nothing about, I would have ditched it about halfway through, but I kept thinking "Hey, this is the person who wrote 'Girl On the Train'.  It HAS to get better."  Alas, it did not.

"Into the Water" sits upon the top of current best seller lists, so they will no doubt make a movie of this one, too.  Maybe it will be better than the book.  

Now, what about Paula Hawkins' next book?  I really liked "Girl on the Train", so I am inclined to give her a mulligan on "Into the Water".  I will use her third novel, whenever it comes out, as the tie-breaker to see if she becomes one of those "must read" authors for me.

One and one-half stars from The Grandstander on "Into The Water."

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