Book Club: Someone is Watching by Joy Fielding

It’s that time of month again. No, not that time, thank you. It was book club time! We had an almost-sort-of-full-house too. Unfortunately, Mandy couldn’t make it but we had a newbie, Bev, in her place (I do love a newbie). After some munch and a couple of beers (okay…I think the beer thing only really applies to me, but still…) we got discussing this month’s read, chosen by Emma: Someone is Watching by Joy Fielding. It’s a psychological thriller all about smart and sassy Bailey Carpenter and her reaction to a horrific attack that we read about in the very first few pages. It garnered quite a range of responses too, from our lowest score of 4/10 to our highest of 9.5/10.

Despite the tremendously graphic rape scene right at the beginning, the general consensus was that the book took a little time to get going. Anna and Frank both proclaimed it to be repetitive – not only at the beginning but throughout – as Bailey jumps at the telephone, cries in her apartment, watches from her windows, and, for a while at least, does little else. Whilst no-one was suggesting that as a rape victim, she should have got her act together sooner, most agreed that as an author, Fielding could have portrayed that feeling a bit better without going over and over the same thing in the book. Still, Emma said, it worked for her because it really helped to create that closed in, isolated, claustrophobic feeling that Bailey must have been experiencing.

The book is definitely a page-turner, it has that for it. It’s a quick read and for that, an enjoyable one. Carol even suggested that this book is more enjoyable when read quickly – that’s how it’s meant to be read, perhaps – and that whizzing through it will help you to overcome those feeling of repetitiveness. As soon as the tale gets going, Bailey becomes the perfectly unreliable narrator and that’s when the book gets interesting. The reader is left wondering what’s going on, who to believe, and who like and dislike. Emma and Michelle said that one of the things they liked about it was that they didn’t guess ‘who dun it’ – at least until right near the end – whilst others (me and Jules included) thought we could see hints throughout.

There were some inconsistencies that frustrated people – Bailey not cancelling her credit cards, the sudden switch from first person to third person narration for just a couple of paragraphs mid-book, and an ending that wasn’t quite in-line with the rest of the novel (I won’t ruin it by explaining that point further). On the topic of the ending, there were mixed reactions again. Some liked the ending – it has a sense of closure that is needed. Others thought that perhaps there was a bit too much closure, a tying up of everything with a neat little bow and a little unrealistic happiness. Overall, an enjoyable book, if not one you’re going to remember for the rest of your life.


Scores

Emma: 9, Bev: 6, Jules: 6, Frank: 4, Anna: 4, Carol: 7, Vicky: 6, Michelle: 9.5, AVERAGE: 6.4375

Book Club Book Rankings

  1. 8/10: The Running Man by Stephen King
  2. 7.68/10: The Second Life of Amy Archer by RS Pateman
  3. 7.64/10: Lion by Saroo Brierley
  4. 7.5/10: The Retribution by Val McDermid
  5. 7.03125/10: See How They Run by Tom Bale
  6. 6.7/10: Twisted by Jeffery Deaver
  7. 6.6/10: Tell it to the Skies by Erica James
  8. 6.4375/10: Someone is Watching by Joy Fielding
  9. 6.125/10: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  10. 6/10: The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Decker
  11. 6/10: Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
  12. 4.75/10: The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver
  13. 4.6/10: Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Larson

 

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