Thursday, February 26, 2009

Woman in the Wall by Patrice Kindl

Anna is more than shy. She is nearly invisible. Most of the time her mother and sisters don’t see, hear, or pay attention to her. At seven, terrified of the prospect of school, Anna retreats within their enormous Victorian house, and builds a house of her own: passageways and hidden rooms become her world. As the years go by, her family forgets she ever existed. Then a mysterious note is thrust into a crack in the wall, and Anna must decide whether or not to come out of hiding. Her life may seem like a fantasy—but there is nothing more real.
Very rarely have I come across a book that leaves me with such mixed feelings. The premise of Woman in the Wall intrigued me the moment I read about it. How Anna felt and acted in the first half of the book was me at that age. If I had had a house like Anna’s, a family like hers, and her mad carpentry skills, I would have become the Woman in the Wall. I loved the first half of the book-the not-quite-reality of it, as Anna became one with the house and her existence became a myth to her family. But the second half felt like a completely different book. Anna’s immersion back into the real world was unsatisfying, too quick, and unrealistic. I have had social and anxiety problems my whole life and they are not something that goes away with the blink of an eye. Personally, I would have preferred if Anna had stayed in the walls of the house, fading away with the house itself, her existence becoming more and more of a mystery. It would have been a much more fitting end in my opinion. I would still recommend reading the whole book just to experience the beginning and Kindl’s beautiful writing.

1 comment:

Sadako said...

Ooh, this looks really cool. I love old, weird houses in books. Very Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Or shades of Manderly!