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!
16 thoughts on “Alyssa’s Reviews – Looker by Laura Sims (ARC)”
This was at the top of my to buy list and I am glad I came across your review. I will probably give it a chance eventually, but I will I probably stick to checking it out of my library. 🙂 thank you
The library is always a great way to check out books you are iffy about, so that sounds like a great idea!
I believe I would have given up and DNF
Well, the book was less than 200 pages, so I didn’t really feel like giving up on it when I was already more than 100 pages in!
Sounds like a conundrum. Not really something I would like.
Trust me when I say it’s not for everybody.
Lovely review, pity it didn’t really work for you.
Thank you! Not every book is going to hit it out of the park, and that’s fine with me!
I enjoy unlikeable characters so I’ll have to check it out and see if I feel differently.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on it whenever you get a chance to read it!!
great review! lovable characters is one of the few things I need in a book so if I don’t like/love them, I mostly always end up hating a book I read haha. This is one I’ll stay clear of I think. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Melissa! Haha, that makes a lot of since! I don’t mind unlikeable characters, but these ones were definitely not up my alley.
Great review, I am really sorry this book really didn’t work out for you I hope your next read is a much better one. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.
Thanks very much, Kati! 🙂
[…] While many people live by the “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it” rule in the book blogosphere, I actually feel different about this. Whenever I read a book that I plan on reviewing, I will post my review no matter what. I like to post my thoughts on books I read whether I enjoyed reading the book or not. As a reader and reviewer, I feel a responsibility to share books I did not enjoy, as well as those that I did. Sometimes when I read posts from other book blogs that only have 100% positive things to say about books or give almost all of their books 5 stars, I find that I may not trust that book blogger as much as others because I think that they may not be telling the truth/being honest about their thoughts on the book. Whenever I receive ARCs from publishing houses, I am accepting them in exchange for an honest review, even if I did not particularly enjoy the book. For example, I recently reviewed an ARC that I rated only two stars, and you can read that post here. […]
[…] ● Dare You To Lie ● I Do Not Trust You ● OtherEarth ● The Wren Hunt ● The Gauntlet ● Looker ● Dry ● The Field Guide To The North American Teenager ● The Black Coats ● The Meaning of […]