Welcome again to a new book-review for the Twisted Book Club! Last time, I did an in-depth review on All American Boys which I consider an important read. This time, I actually wanted to read The Girl on the Train, but was drawn to Into the Water instead. When reading the synopsis, I thought this would be some scary town where all the women would be slowly slaughtered, just for being born a girl. Thank God, it was nothing super scary though. However, the book was very suspenseful, at times I could not even breathe. I just needed to continue reading, I just needed to know what the hell happened. I already heard a lot about The Girl on the Train, so therefore I undoubtedly started reading Into the Water. Let’s get into it!
Into the Water is about Jules who goes back to Beckfort because her sister Nel died (supposedly suicide). The sisters and their parents grew up in Beckfort and have not spoken to each other for many years. Their former house, the Mill House, brings back a lot of memories to Jules, some she’d rather not remember. However, she needs to know what happened to her sister, and she needs to take care of her niece, Lena. Coming back to Beckfort, she’s trying to find out why her sister was so invested in the Drowning Pool and all the women and girls that had died in it. She’ll have to face some of the realities of her own youth and eventually set aside her hate for her sister in order to find out what happened to Nel and whether she killed herself or not. Jules’ journey is a remarkable one, and totally worth reading.
Into the Water is written from many perspectives, but the most consistent ones are Jules’ and later Lena’s. However, some of the side-characters also have a recurring turn with their own perspectives. At the beginning this is kind of confusing since you are not sure what name or person has to do with the story and the main characters. However, it is easy to read and eventually you’ll put the pieces together.
I read Into the Water within a few days, it had a lot of suspense and also I had high expectations from it due to the writer being Paula Hawkins. That aside, I think it was both a beautiful and a tragic story. I felt so bad for Jules, because she carried so much with her, experiences that she did not explicitly share with Nel. As a result, both sisters reacted to from their own version of her experience. Which is where it went wrong. Due to this, Jules ended up hating Nel. Not speaking to her for years, waiting for an apology that never came and what had brought them together was Nel’s death. In the end, Jules was not able to tell Nel that she was sorry or what happened. On the other hand, due to the fact that Nel never knew the truth, she was unable to be there for Jules. Heartbreaking. Yet, so poetically beautiful. I’ll give an example:
You and I, we tell our stories differently. I know that because I’ve read your words: When I was seventeen, I saved my sister from drowning. You were heroic, without context. You didn’t write about how I got there, about the football game, or the blood..
Which is true, everybody tells their story differently, but isn’t that beautiful? It would be boring if we’d all tell the same stories right? That is why I never understand it when people have a discussion, or something happens and refuse to hear out the other party. Your job is not to understand why I did what I did. I did what I did, and you can only accept that. If you want to be empathic and understand, that’s fine, and if you don’t that is ok too. I say this, because those same people will raise their voice to make their point come across, which is plain hypocritical. Because, now you expect me to understand your point but you are not willing to do the same.
The most important thing about this story is that people tell their stories differently. We are only able to tell it the way we know them, the way we have experienced them. Eventually, Jules finds out that her sister was not able to act the way she would have liked due to her ignorance. However, it is something we can all learn from, like Jules did:
I failed you, and I kept on failing you. I sat up again, my arms wrapped tightly around my knees and the waves of grief just kept coming: I failed you, I hurt you, and the thing that kills me is that you never knew why. You spent your whole life trying to understand why I hated you so much, and all I had to do was tell you. All I had to do was answer when you called. And now it was too late.
Jules finally realized that all she had to do is pick up the phone everytime Nel called her. Every voicemail she left, all she had to do was call back. Confront her sister about her feelings. In the end, Lena and Jules move to London. I have to say that I am glad that they eventually get along and that Jules understood that she had to take care of her niece. Which I also find beautiful at the same time.
Into the Water was a great read. It was well-written and there was plenty of suspense. I really kept on reading because I really wanted to know what the hell happened to these damn women in the Drowning Pool. The story of Jules and the search of what happened to her sister gave me something to think about. I definitely recommend this book and I cannot wait to share my thoughts on The Girl in the Train with you!
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