Book Club Discussion: "Into the Water" by Paula Hawkins - Part Two
Hello and Happy Wednesday!
I'm back today with an update on our book club discussion! I know it's a couple of days late, but...sometimes life just doesn't go as planned, ya know? The best thing we can do is just keep on trying, so here I am! :) You understand, right?
If you have not yet read this book, now is the time to go ahead and catch up! I'd love to have you join in on the conversation. There are some *SPOILERS AHEAD*, so feel free to bookmark this page until you've finished reading the book!
Don't worry, I'll wait! ;)
All done? Alright, now let's jump right into it! Here we go!
Book Club Discussion (Continued!): "Into the Water" by Paula Hawkins
1.) This book is written from the perspective of several different characters. How did this structure affect your reading experience?
I was initially a bit intimidated (and honestly, slightly annoyed) by the structure of this book. I was not yet familiar with the characters in the story and bouncing between them made it difficult for me to figure out who was who. I struggled to differentiate between the characters’ voices and, at first, I was unimpressed with this setup. However, I stuck it out and kept reading. After a few chapters, things began to clear up. As I got to know the characters more and more, this structure became much less of a bother and more of a treat. Once I was clearer on the identity of each character, I enjoyed uncovering the story from each of their unique points of view. I think this format ultimately strengthened the connection I felt to each character in a way that another format could not.
2. What did you think of the author’s ability to maintain the mystery surrounding the story? Were you able to guess the ending? What clues tipped you off? Were there any red herrings that set you off on the wrong path?
I didn’t guess the ending of the book. To be honest, I didn’t find myself trying to solve the mystery along the way. I was in more of an “along for the ride” kind of mindset. I’m not sure if it was the book itself or if it was just the mood I was in. As for red herrings, I do feel like I caught a few of those. It seemed to me like Jules was focusing a lot on Lena and the things that made her appear guilty. I felt like the author was trying to guide me toward making that assumption, although I did not. If anything, she made me feel like it definitely was not Lena...Maybe that was the author’s plan for me all along. Who knows?! :)
3.) Were there any passages that really struck you? What was it that made them stand out to you?
Definitely! There was something about the drowning of the poor, pregnant cat that struck a nerve for me. I found myself crying and I had to put the book down for a while. I know that there were other, more intense passages, and those struck me too, but I didn’t have such a visceral reaction to those.
4.) Consider Nel’s mission to share the stories of the people of Beckford with the world. Was she right or wrong to do so? Why do you feel this way?
I am on the fence about this one. I do think that Nel was trying to do the right thing, although she probably could have done it in a more diplomatic way. I understand wanting to share the history of Beckford with the world, but I don’t really agree with the way she did it. There must have been a way to do so without getting the entire town upset at her…
5.) Did you identify with any particular character in this book? What made them relatable to you?
I have to say, I did not feel a super strong connection to any character in particular. I think the cool thing about this book, though, was that I related to a lot of the characters just a little bit. Each character seemed very human, which is to say that they each had their flaws, and I think that’s what made them each a bit relatable.
6.) This book is heavily focused on the women of Beckford. Do these women share any similarities? What effect did these similarities have on the women and the people around them?
I think one thing that all of these women have in common is their power. Each of them used their power in different ways - Lena and Katie used their power to flirt and make men feel uncomfortable. Later, Lena used her power to keep going on with her life after both her friend and mother died. At one point, she even used her power to fight back against her kidnapper. Nel once used her power over Jules to make her feel bad. Later, she used it to shed light on the dark truths lurking in Beckford. Each woman had her own unique power and used it in their own unique way.
7.) What were your overall thoughts about this book? If you were the author, would you change anything about the story?
Overall, I liked this book. It was definitely dark and twisty, which is always a bonus for me. I think the author painted a great picture of the town of Beckford as well as its inhabitants. If I had to change one thing about the story, I might try to give each character a more distinguished voice.
8.) Rate this book! How many coffee cups would you give it on a scale of 1-5, with 1 cup being the worst and 5 cups being the best?
I give this book 3 coffee cups. It’s not the most profound thing I’ve ever read, but it was an interesting escape from reality, and it did give me a few things to ponder. I ultimately liked the unique format, and I think the author did a decent job developing each character, although I would have liked to see a bit more of that.