“Its name carries weight; and yet, what is it? A bend in the river, that’s all. A meander.” ~ Danielle Abbott
Into the Water delivers an urgent, satisfying read that hinges onto the stories of the past that we tell and how they have the power to destroy our lives now. It depicts the death of Nel Abbott and her estranged sister, Jules Abbott. As Jules struggle to understand the circumstances behind Nel’s death, it is known that the previous deaths of women all linked to one common factor -the Drowning Pool. In a bid to find the truth, Jules had to face her past and cope with losing a loved one, albeit in strange conditions. The book is a good read, particularly in the way the author elaborately illustrates the troubling past of Jules’, how the author orchestrates the seemingly normal death in a way to be shrouded in secrets and the truth behind the quote that the past will eventually come back to bite you.
The troubling past of Jules is a complex one. She hated Nel- she despised her for her beauty, her parents’ favouritism towards her and Nel’s devilish schemes. Jules left her past behind in search for a new identity, but is forced to face the facts that her sister had gone. In the search for an answer, Jules stumbles across her sister’s records of her neighbours and the past of the Drowning Pool. She finds that despite their broken relationship, she still had feelings towards her sister and wanted to forgive her no matter what she did, even if she had done harm to others. This puts Jules in a conflicting situation where her morals clashes with her feelings towards her sister and gives us a fresh perspective on how our emotions may influence our decisions in the process as well as how the past can sufficiently help to develop the character in the story even though it is tricky to pull off. I should say that development of Nel Abbott as a character was shallow- she was portrayed as evil through and through whilst giving her no chance of redemption for what she did. It could have been interesting to see things from her perspective, why she did what she did, as well as the actions that brought her down to her demise.
The orchestration of the entire plot was delivered excellently- it led us to continue reading on about the truth of the accidental “drowning”, and gave us a twist we never did expect. Sean, a policeman in the story, is forced to come to terms with the family he never had and the morals that had no true foundation. Secrets were found- Nel Abbott, an innocent woman, was never that innocent. Jules Abbott, a life that never came to fruition was instead broken down and reduced to its fundamentals where she had to question the existence of her sister and even doubted herself, believing herself to be the catalyst of all the chaos that happened thus far. Mark Henderson, a normal teacher related to another girl who also died, was found to be involved in a sexual relationship with the girl. It gives us twists at every corner and is so unpredictable that we as readers have to keep reading to construct images in our head, giving us our own interpretations of the events that occurred.
The past is shown to eventually come back to bite a person, regardless of what they may have accomplished in their current life. Nel fell prey to her own past where she was involved in gossip and made trouble for herself. Jules rejected that one phone call and had to endure the pain of losing everything she ever had just for her sister. Mark had a relationship that was forbidden and lost one of his students for his own selfish purposes. Every little action they did in the past had a consequence, consequences that would eventually bite them back in full force and make them suffer for the rest of their lives. The wrong decisions started a chain of events that never would have happened had it not been done, proving fully the moral that the past can easily destroy your future.
Overall, this thriller read is worth reading. Paula Hawkins has managed to captivate me in a way where the book could hold my attention for hours as I wished to finish the book. It has given a strong interpretation of a value that many still deny exists and through the usage of words conveyed yet another brilliant concept that was refreshing and satisfying. I highly recommend this book for all to read and would definitely persuade you to pick up the book either in the library or bookstore to get a taste of what a fresh concept could hold for one’s adventures in a book.
Yeo Hui Min Mandy (2 Unity)