Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!
As I featured last month in my “In My Mailbox: Winter 2019 Edition“, “Winter Vacation Reading Plans“, and “December 2018 Wrap-Up“, I recently read “Looker” by Laura Sims. The cover definitely drew me to this book, and I was really excited to read a 2019 thriller release. However, this book definitely did not meet my expectations.
I’ve never crossed their little fenced-in garden, of course. I stand on the sidewalk in front of the fern-and-ivy-filled planter that hangs from the fence—placed there as a sort of screen, I’m sure—and have a direct line of view into the kitchen at night. I’m grateful they’ve never thought to install blinds. That’s how confident they are. No one would dare stand in front of our house and watch us, they think. And they’re probably right: except for me.
In this taut and thrilling debut, an unraveling woman, unhappily childless and recently separated, becomes fixated on her neighbor—the actress. The unnamed narrator can’t help noticing with wry irony that, though she and the actress live just a few doors apart, a chasm of professional success and personal fulfillment lies between them. The actress, a celebrity with her face on the side of every bus, shares a gleaming brownstone with her handsome husband and their three adorable children, while the narrator, working in a dead-end job, lives in a run-down, three-story walk-up with her ex-husband’s cat.
When an interaction with the actress at the annual block party takes a disastrous turn, what began as an innocent preoccupation spirals quickly, and lethally, into a frightening and irretrievable madness. Searing and darkly witty, Looker is enormously entertaining—at once a propulsive Hitchcockian thriller and a fearlessly original portrait of the perils of envy.
I wouldn’t say that I particularly enjoyed this book. Was it the worst book I’ve ever read? No. But I did not like it.
One of my biggest complaints I have relating to this book is not actually about the book itself, but rather the way it’s being marketed and publicized. This book is NOT a thriller. There are no unbelievable plot twists, and no thrilling aspects to it. To be honest, I found the plot line quite dry and flat, therefore it was no way a “thrilling” book. I would categorize this book as a suspense novel, as I found it to be very suspenseful and hard to put down. The writing was very fast paced, and since this book is quite short, I was able to read it in one sitting. And to me, that would make this book a suspense novel, rather than a thriller. Had I known this before going into the book, I most likely would not have requested it in the first place.
Another thing I didn’t enjoy was the characters. The narrator, for example, was hard to understand. I was confused as to whether she was written to be a likeable character or not, or whether we were supposed to feel sorry for her or not. I am not the type of reader that dislikes a character that is “bad” or “mean”, especially if they were intentionally written that way. However, this character was just confusing to me. She didn’t really have one personality type, but rather showed that she was sensitive, carefree, and independent, while also seeming like nothing bothered her and was very needy during certain parts of the novel. Along with the narrator, I also found that none of the characters had any substance or went through any development, which I found very disappointing.
Along with the characters, I found the plot line very confusing. There was no set opening, conflict, climax, or solution. It seemed like everything just “happened”, and there was no real order in all of the chaos that existed in this story. The ending was also very random and out of the blue. I feel like there was a better way to end this story, especially because it didn’t really wrap anything up. But then again, how could it when there was no real conflict in this story? *sigh*
Perhaps my favourite thing in this novel (and the reason I am giving it more than one star) was the writing style. Most of the time, whenever I read a debut novel, it is easy to tell that the person who wrote the book is a new author. Whether they may it make take them twenty words to describe one object in the protagonists house, or make the story hard to follow, normally their are obvious indications. However, I really enjoyed the way this book was written. I thought the narrators thoughts were written concisely and to the point. It was also less than 200 pages, which made it a very easy read.
Lastly, I wanted to include my short Goodreads review of this book, as I believe it sums up my initial thoughts just after finishing this book perfectly…
I finished this book and still have no clue as to what it’s about. Is she obsessed with her neighbour? Is she obsessed with her cat? Is she mad at her ex (what happened between them anyways?)? What is happening between her and that student of hers? This book was too confusing and had no plot line whatsoever. I’m giving it two stars because I couldn’t put it down… so take that for what it’s worth. Also, the writing was very good for a debut novel.
Overall, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped and gave it two out of five stars.
Thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada for providing me with an ARC of this book!
Good Night Book Owls!