Thursday, 2 November 2017
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
No worries, I'm not turning into a book blogger all of a sudden, posting a third book review in less than a week.
Behind Her Eyes arrived one day, without any note enclosed. Who posted it to me or why, I am not sure. Nobody asked me if I wanted to review it. It might have been from one of the competitions online, but I had no notification of any kind.
This book had great endorsements from many writers and social media: Stephen King called it "bloody brilliant", Ian Rankin described it as a "piledriver domestic thriller with pull-the-rug-out ending", Harlan Coben marked it out as "A dark, electrifying page-turner with a corker of an ending".
The story starts on a plausible note: a single Mum Louise has a rare night out, meets a man in a bar, they are both immediately attracted to each other. She drinks one too many, and goes for a drunken kiss with the attractive stranger. Things don't go further because David confesses that he is not available and that the kiss was a terrible mistake.
Louise is mortified and humiliated. She's in for a shock when she arrives to work on Monday only to find out that her new boss is that guy from the bar.
To complicate things even further, she bumps into Adele in the street. Adele happens to be David's wife, and is new in town. She attaches herself like a leech to Louise.
Instead of running for the hills and dumping both husband and wife, Louise begins a secret friendship with Adele, who seems to be vulnerable and scared of her controlling husband.
Whose story to believe? Who to side with?
Alert: Spoilers ahead
I detested the ending to the extent I felt like throwing the book across the room, once I finished it. I felt cheated. Why did a book which started as a thriller end as a supernatural nonsense?
I disliked all the characters in equal measure. None of them had any redeeming features.
Louisa, who is supposed to be a devoted loving mother, is nothing of the kind. She cannot wait until her son goes to bed. He goes to school, but has to be in bed as a toddler by 7.30pm, while she indulges in one too many glasses of wine and online browsing.
She doesn't give a second thought about her child's well-being.
Her actions are so difficult to justify or explain. If you are having an affair with a married man, surely you do not befriend his wife and then care for her mental health. She is duplicitous but also extremely stupid and thus easily manipulated by the psycopathic Adele.
If she had an ounce of brain and some love for her child, all this would not have happened.
For all her failings, even stupid Louise didn't deserve such an ending. I'm sorry for her child who has to live now with a creature from Hell.
And the very last page and the threat that comes at the end made my hair stand on end. That's when I wanted to throw the book across the room.
I didn't. I'm taking it to the charity shop.
When the book was published, the PR promoted it with a hashtag #WTFThatEnding. WTF in truth.