Published: 31st January 2017
Started reading: 16 July
Finished reading: 20 July
Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.
When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?
As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.
This was a surreal reading experience, and not an entirely enjoyable one. It is all spinning around in my head as I type, and the conclusion I am coming to is that this book’s plot was one of the most unusual and frankly ridiculous that I have come across.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I do not think that this was a good book; in fact it was a disappointment. However, what is really ironic is that it was always interesting and intriguing enough to make me carry on reading, and so I managed to fly through it pretty quickly.
This might be an unpopular opinion. This book is so highly-rated by a lot of readers, but despite some strong foundations and a plot which does lead to a lot of interesting questions swirling through your mind, it just did not do it for me! And here is why:
The characters are, for a start, hugely unlikable. The book tries its best to make you sympathise with all of them at various stages, but they simply do not have enough positive characteristics to make me feel connected with them or especially caring about their eventual fate.
A lot of the dialogue is poorly written and feels a little forced, and supporting characters such as Sophie and Laura seem cliched. Sophie in particular just feels like the kind of character you come across in so many other books – a female best friend who gives bog-standard relationship advice and serves no other purpose.
Now for the strangest part of the book. The Dreams, or The Night Terrors. It is crazy and nonsensical, and makes the book feel like a supernatural thriller, or even a thriller with an element of fantasy thrown in. Some readers might think of it as really clever and innovative and dramatic, and I very much respect that opinion. But to me, it is craziness to the nth degree.
And the massive twist at the end!? Well that just took the biscuit! It was meant to be a jaw-dropping, amazing twist, and to some it will be. But I was just thinking what the… And not in a good way.
I realise I have criticised the book a lot, but I like the varying perspectives. It is written in a way that kind of reminds me of The Girl on the Train. And the way Sarah Pinborough writes to make me want to keep reading a disappointing book deserves to be commended!
Behind Her Eyes contains strong references to drug and substance abuse, and some mild sexual content.
This is a popular book, but although it was intriguing right the way through, as a whole there was too much about it that I did not like. And however incredible the ending was, it was still crazy.
I give Behind Her Eyes a rating of two stars.