Into the Water by Paula Hawkins follows a fifteen year old girl after the death of her mother. The mother was doing research on the waters in which a teenage girl and several other women over the years had been found dead. The mother’s body was pulled out of the very waters that she devoted her research and writings about.
The teenage girl left behind finds herself in the care of her aunt, who is a stranger to her. As the tale unravels, can they find out what really happened to her mother? What secrets are people hiding?
To be honest, I went into this book with way too many expectations. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover. But honestly, I can’t help it. If I see a pretty cover, I’ll want to read it more. This cover is pretty, which added to my excitement. The synopsis got me interested. I was seeking another psychological thriller with twists and turns and a stunning conclusion. Something a bit more like The Girl on the Train. What I got was…a bit of a mess. Don’t get me wrong, I generally enjoyed the story. But that’s about it. It didn’t stun me. It didn’t play with my mind or even keep me guessing. It just confused me and, at times, bored me.
Allow me to clarify why I felt this way. The book jumps to different characters and their thoughts in alternating chapters. I counted a total of eleven different point-of-views in the entire book. Way too many if you ask me. That’s not including the chapters that were excerpts from the Drowning Pool, a story that was being written about the women who died in the water. This added five additional names and stories to juggle, with a total of sixteen people with their own chapters. It became confusing at times and even a bit messy.
When the story had begun and I was already confused, I knew this was going to be a bumpy ride. Think about it like murky water settling. At first, everything that is happening is confusing and foggy. Then, as the story goes on, the water begins to clear.
“Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.”
I’m fairly conflicted about this book to say the least. On one hand, I would recommend the book for its good writing, the interesting premise and setting, moments of suspense and vast cast of characters. Paula Hawkins definitely proves that she can write with this book.
“No one liked to think about the fact that the water in that river was infected with the blood and bile of persecuted women, unhappy women; they drank it every day.”
But some of these are also the reasons I wasn’t too thrilled about this book. The suspenseful moments were fleeting. Before the suspenseful moments have time to catch some momentum, they seem to fizzle out. As for the vast cast of characters, I felt that it was too much at times. I got some characters confused and never got much of a chance to care for any single person. I actually enjoy books with multiple perspectives, but this one seemed to take that to the extreme.
“Beckford is not a suicide spot. Beckford is a place to get rid of troublesome women.”
So yes, in short, I would recommend this book. It was well-written, it was somewhat poetic and it was mysterious to a point. If you can juggle eleven alternating point-of-views, and like a good character study then you may find this very enjoyable. It just wasn’t what I was hoping for.