Into the Water, Paula Hawkins
“Sometimes troublesome women take care of themselves.”
We're officially fans of Paula Hawkins. We loved to hate the twisted sisterhood of The Girl on the Train and her latest novel, Into the Water, unleashes the fuckery of misogynistic self-righteousness across the history of a single town. If you want to curse out loud at some male characters as you read a book on a crowded subway, this is the book for you.
The Girl on the Train uses time jumps and memory lapses to disorient, leading the reader on an off-kilter thrill ride up to the very end. Into the Water sets a slower pace, expanding the points of view to a wide cast of characters and exploring the complicity of an entire town in over a century's worth of crimes and wrongdoings. Both had us flipping back and forth to get our bearings, but the vertigo is all part of the unearthing, if you will.
What we love about both Into the Water and The Girl on the Train is the complexity of the women. They're whole and they're imperfect and they get fucked over by misogynistic "good" guys a lot - that is, until they don't (and Hawkins always lets us have some redemption). It doesn't matter if you're the good girl or the slag - the patriarchy will get ya down, whether it accepts any responsibility or not. Moreover, Hawkins captures the disconnect between who we "are," what we do, and what we're willing to do to maintain our identities with cutting honesty. While her protagonists aren't heroes with whom you're likely to immediately fall in love, they often do precisely what we would if we were honest enough to admit our own capacity for vanity, vengeance, and, yes, even bravery.
Recommended for: The troublesome woman looking for a thrill.