WARNING: This review has spoilers. So, if you haven’t read the book or watched the Netflix limited series of the same name, you may want to skip it.
‘What the actual f*$%!?” was the phrase I yelled out loud in my car back in 2017 when this audiobook first wrapped up. I was NOT having it. I mean, thrillers are my jam, but this fantastical body jumping bullshit was just too over-the-top for my liking. Fast forward a few years, and everyone and their mother is watching Behind Her Eyes on Netflix. Because I was curious to see how everything played out on screen, I decided to give it a shot. At that point, I knew how the story ended, so I couldn’t possibly be any more disappointed.
Well, after I binged all six episodes in two days, I decided to go back and give the book another listen. What I definitely missed the first time were the subtle hints that the author peppers throughout the book. Hints that allude to the body jumping and the mystical ending and pretty much soften the blow. And so, here is the review I didn’t think I’d ever write. TGFN – Thank God for Netflix!
Title: Behind Her Eyes
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Rating: The Creepy Read You’re Looking For
Page Count: 320; 11 hours, 29 minutes via audiobook
Behind Her Eyes is the story of a lonely single mom who finds herself stuck in a web of lies and mind games when she has an affair with her boss while secretly befriending his wife. Yeah, talk about drama! Louise meets David at a bar after her friend stands her up; they have a great conversation, share a passionate kiss, and then he abruptly leaves. The next day at work, Louise meets the new psychiatrist, who happens to be none other than David himself – a very married David. Talk about awkward. Later, after taking her son Adam to school, Louise bumps into Adelle, his beautiful wife, knocking her to the ground. Over the next few weeks, the two start to develop a beautiful friendship – or so we think.
The story is broken up into three parts and alternates between Louise, Adelle, Now, and Then. We learn that when Adelle was a teenager, her parents died in a house fire. David rescued her, and she ended up staying a brief stint in a mental hospital. There she meets Rob, who becomes her best friend; she tries to heal him from his night terrors and he brings the laughter back into her life. But Rob has a dark side, and after Adelle teaches him how to successfully body jump (or astral project), he pulls off a stunt that leads to Adelle’s death while she’s in Rob’s body. Yes, you read that right, present-day Adelle is actually Rob in Adelle’s body.
In the Now, and through Adelle, we learn that David hasn’t been happy in their marriage for a long time. He wont’ tell her he loves her, barely looks at her, and yet controls what she does during the day, keeping tabs on her with an antiquated phone. We find out that sweet Adelle (Rob) is concocting a plan to get David to love her (him) again. Which may or may not include orchestrating her first encounter with Louise, forcing her husband into an affair with her, and teaching her to overcome her night terrors through astral projection.
After much more drama and a few more revelations, Adelle (who’s actually Louise), dies tragically and Louise (who’s actually Rob) goes on to live happily ever after with David. Except that Adam knows that something’s not quite right with his mother. He says as much and the story ends on a very chilling and ominous note.
But I still have questions:
What’s going to happen to Adam?
Did David know that Adelle was actually Rob?
Will he find out that Louise is actually Rob?
The world may never know.
I really enjoyed how closely the limited series mirrored the book. Later, I learned this was intentional. In an interview with the Independent, Sarah Pinborough said that she went with a production company that wouldn’t soften the ending and agreed to stay true to her script. In fact, there were very few changes overall and you can read more about them in the full interview. It was very much unlike the Netflix retelling of Harlan Coben’s The Stranger, which, if you’ve been following me for a while, you know I absolutely hated! HATED.
Anyway, the casting was perfect. Simona Brown was an awesome choice to portray the beautiful and unassuming Louise. Eve Hewson (Bono’s daughter) was the perfect alluring and mysterious pick for Adelle. Tom Bateman was the sexy and elusive David. And Robert Aramayo (from Game of Thrones) was the scheming and conniving Rob.
The series was so well done that it left the audience wanting a season two, which is probably not in the works unless Pinborough decides to write a sequel. I’m here for it, though.
So, did you read (or listen) to the book? Watch the series? I want to know your thoughts!
A single mom gets caught up in web of lies and mind games after she has an affair with her boss while befriending his psychotic wife. Nothing’s as it seems in this psychological thriller that will keep you entertained well past that chilling closing sentence.
If you liked this book, you’ll love Behind Her Eyes on Netflix (or vice versa).