Behind her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (2017) Review
Louise is a single mom and a secretary, stuck on a modern-day rut. One night, she meets a man in a bar and feels an undeniable attraction for him, thrilled that she has finally connected with someone. They kiss. Soon, she finds out that he is married, but he can’t keep his eyes off from her. She also bumps into his wife, and found out that this situation is more dangerous than it initially looks.
Behind Her Eyes spends too much time in exposition, dedicating most of the book with adultery and ridiculous character drama. This book is supposed into the genre of “marriage thrillers” (inspired by the spew of novels released after the success of Gone Girl), but this novel is more mommy and daddy marriage issues rather than being an actual psychological thriller. It seems to revolve around the definition that a psycho thriller is only about conflict amongst characters, intense arguing sequences, and, since it’s Adult, a boatload of sex scenes. It never really bothers getting into the complexity of the characters, and instead busies itself with a soap opera-like drama. In addition, since there is a strong lack of characterization, none of the characters stood out, making all the shoddy drama useless.
What really disappointed me with this was the ending. There seems to be a huge lot of commotion around this novel about the ending, readers saying that it’s the most shocking thing ever. There’s even a hashtag for it (#WTFthatending). It tried, but the apparent twist of the novel ended up being laughably far-fetched, totally random, and a strong betrayal to the first third of the book. Books usually have these “set of rules” in which they follow to remain uniformity throughout. This broke everything it established during the earlier chapters, making it extremely ridiculous and implausible to believe. No one would obviously predict it because of how random it was.
Behind her Eyes would work for a certain type of reader if he/she knows what the novel is truly about. Due to advertising, I thought that this would be an intense, psychological thriller with grey and layered characters and a strong ending. What I got is a soap drama filled with adultery, shouting, paper characters, and an ending used for gimmicks that weakens the plot that it originally had. It’s sad, since this is rated as one of the best “psychological thrillers” of the year.