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Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

I received Behind Her Eyes from Book of the Month a few months ago, and after finishing Night Film, another psychological thriller, I was ready for this one. I love the entire book-the characters, the plot, the authors writing style. And then I read the last three chapters and my love for the book deflated. I have never been so let down by an ending in my entire life. It's funny how just a few pages can ruin an entire book for you.

(Source: Kelsey Darling)
Behind Her Eyes follows Louise, a single mother who is stuck in a rut, and Adele, the new girl in town who seems to have her shit together. And of course there is a man. David met Louise in a bar one night and they shared an amazing kiss. David is married to Adele. Oh, and when Louise goes to work on Monday, she finds out that David is her new boss. Nothing awkward about that. It gets worse when Adele bumps into Louise and invites her to coffee and they become friends. But Adele makes Louise promise that she won't tell David about their friendship because he doesn't like to mix his work and personal life. That seems innocent enough, but then Louise notices that David calls Adele a lot, and he prescribes her a lot of medication, and then one day Adele appears with a bruise on her face. To make matters more complicated, Louise has struck up an affair with David, and he is completely different with her. The more Louise digs into David and Adele's marriage, the more questions she has. Everything reaches its boiling point when David learns that Louise has cultivated a friendship with Adele and he tells her to stay away from them. But Louise cannot give up on Adele because she has finally has a glimpse of the David Adele lives with, and she fears for Adele. But maybe she should be fearing for herself instead.
(Source: Giphy)

The plot reminded me a lot of Gone Girl, with a third person involved. Pretty quickly I felt that Adele wasn't so much the victim of the plot, and I was right. But just like Louise, I found it hard not to like her. She wanted to help Louise help herself. She got her a gym membership, they'd go for coffee, drink wine the garden, helped Louise quit smoking. She really seemed to be in Adele's court. I figured that Adele planned on committing suicide at some point and wanted to pin the death on David; and since she knew of the affair, she was trying to build their relationship so they would hurt even more while David rotted in prison or something. No. I was wrong.

A big part of the plot is that Louise has night terrors. Adele used to have them as well, but as a child, she taught herself lucid dreaming. As a teenager, Adele lost her parents to a house fire and ended up in a rehabilitation center because she wouldn't sleep. Here Adele meets Rob, an 18-year-old meth head who also has night terrors. The two build a friendship and Adele teaches Rob the secrets of lucid dreaming. After their stint in rehab, Adele goes back to live at the estate where her parents died and Rob comes to visit. But Rob never leaves. Fast forward ten years, Adele is now teaching Louise about lucid dreaming and gives her a journal that Rob kept as he taught himself about it. And it works!

(Let me say this. I 100% believe in lucid dreaming. It helps many people with different sleep issues that they suffer with. All of this, I believed. It is what happens next that began to weaken my love for the book.)

(Source: Giphy)
Once Louise has mastered lucid dreaming, she finds herself in her own dream that she has formed when a second door appears. It takes a couple of dreams, but Louise is finally able to open the door, and she finds herself having an out of body experience watching her son sleep. Okay, not totally what I believe, but whatever. Louise asks Adele if the second door ever appeared for her, and obviously Adele lies. In reality (I use that word loosely), Adele uses these out of body experiences to spy on David and Louise, which is how she found out about the affair. Because Louise is a newbie, she can't travel as far as Adele can though.

(Source: Giphy)
At the novels pinnacle, David has said that he is going to come clean about what really happened to Rob, divorce Adele, and wants to be with Louise, even if he's behind bars. Because Louise wants to be the hero, she calls Adele and tells her David's plan and rub it in Adele's face that Adele is losing and she can make it all right if she comes clean instead of David. But Adele knows better. She tells Louise that she is going to just kill herself instead. Louise can't have that! She goes to the house and hears that a fire has started, but she can't get into the house. (This is where the book loses me.) Louise makes herself have an out of body experience, go into the house, and once she realizes that she can't physically do anything, she jumps into Adele's body so that she can physically do something. Adele doesn't make it. Or so she would have you believe.

While Louise was jumping into Adele's body, Adele jumped in Louise's. So although Adele's body is the one being buried, it was Louise's spirit in the body, and it died with Adele's body. But wait, there's more! Remember Rob, the junkie that disappeared? Remember how Adele taught him about lucid dreaming? Well, she also taught him about the second door. The one and only time Rob met David, he fell madly in love with him. So much so that he told Adele they should try and switch bodies. Rob sabotaged his body with meth so that when Adele jumped into it, she automatically overdosed and died in Rob's body, and Rob has been living in her body for the last 10 years. And now he is living in Louise's body.

(Source: Giphy)
To make things even worse, two cats are brutally murdered throughout the novel, and because Rob can't have Louise's child or ex-husband figure out that mommy isn't really mommy anymore, he ends the novel with saying that he's planning to kill them.

(Source: IMDB)
I feel like Pinborough is making fun of lucid dreaming and turning it into some re-write of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It could have been done so much better. It ruined the entire novel for me. I don't think I'll ever read another novel by her. I understand that she was genre-bending, but she broke it. It went from something within the realm of reason to completely unbelievable and insulting. It made me feel like I wasted time and money. The characters that she spent so much time helping me love, I hate them. The plot with so much potential was ruined. If I had known that was going to be what happened before I started, I would have selected a different book to begin with and never ordered it. In summation, I'm disappointed.

Rating: 1/10
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction

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