Behind Her Eyes and THAT Ending: Spoiler Discussion (#WTFthatending)

February 16, 2017 Mysteries/Thrillers 26

This post is full of spoilers, so STOP HERE if you don’t want to know the ending (or other details).

Behind Her Eyes, Sarah PinboroughFiction – Mystery/Thriller
Released January 31, 2016
320 Pages
Bottom Line: Skip it…unless you just want to participate in the discussion.
Affiliate Link: Amazon
Source: Purchased (Publisher: Flatiron Books)









This post contains affiliate links.

I’ve been somewhat burned out of psychological thrillers lately, especially those that are billed as “the next Gone Girl and/or The Girl on the Train.” I generally find that the big twist is either entirely predictable or completely outlandish…and neither one of those situations leaves me feeling satisfied.

My mystery/thriller dream is to find an ending that is surprising, yet with some hindsight, makes sense in the context of the story. Gone Girl did that for me, while I guessed The Girl on the Train‘s ending halfway through the book.

Despite this burnout, I couldn’t resist Flatiron Books’ admittedly brilliant marketing ploy of highlighting Behind Her Eyes‘ crazy ending…even creating a hashtag for it (#WTFthatending). I wondered if maybe this thriller could pull me out of my slump…plus, I wanted to be a part of the discussion about that ending.

Alas…it was not to be.

What did you think of Behind Her Eyes’ ending (aka #WTFthatending)?

In a nutshell: I DESPISED that ending. It absolutely left me saying “WTF,” so I guess it technically lived up to the publisher’s hashtag hype, but it did not work for me. at. all.

Why? Because it fell squarely in the outlandish category I mentioned earlier and it relied entirely on a gimmick (I’ll discuss this a bit more below). When Louise and Adele switched bodies during the fire at the Martin’s house, I rolled my eyes at the fact that the entire ending hinged on two people switching bodies through a door that appears in their “lucid dreams.”

Then, I find out that the entire story from start to finish hinged on Rob inhabiting Adele’s body via the same “lucid dream door” from the get-go?!! I wanted to throw the book across the room.

Did you see the ending coming?

No, I definitely didn’t see it coming. But, I don’t consider that a win for all the reasons I talked about above.

However, I did spend literally the entire book trying to guess what would happen. For your amusement, here are all my guesses:

7%: David burned down Adele’s parents’ house…with them in it. (Wrong)
10%: David drugs Adele on a daily basis…switching out her medication. (Wrong)
18%: Louise will unknowingly be Adele’s puppet. (Right)
30% Adele bugged Louise’s apartment and David’s office. (Wrong)
42%: Adele is trying to orchestrate it so she can leave David (so she can regain control of her parents’ estate) and he will take the fall because of his cheating and “abuse.” (Wrong)
78% Adele can spy on Louise and David because of the second dream door. (Right)
51%: Adele faked the dream notebook she gave to Louise. (Wrong)
51%: Adele will have Louise kill David. (Wrong)
52%: Adele will trick David or Louise into killing her. She wants to die anyway and she’ll get revenge on either of them by letting them live with the guilt of killing her. (Wrong)
69%: Adele and David killed Rob. (Wrong)
88%: Louise is seriously mentally ill too. (Wrong)
93% Adele frames Louise for killing her, but will actually commit suicide. Louise will watch all this go down through the second dream door. (Kind of right, kind of wrong)

How do you feel about knowing in advance that an ending will be crazy or controversial?

I normally like to go into plot-centric books fairly blind.

I read Gone Girl before all the hype and one of the reasons it was so successful for me was that I didn’t even know there was a massive twist in the book. I was just reading along and BAM…there it was.

That being said, I admit I never would have picked up Behind Her Eyes without all the hype surrounding #WTFthatending. It made me want to be a part of the conversation.

Is lucid dreaming a real thing?

Prior to reading Behind Her Eyes, I’d never heard of lucid dreaming. So, I naturally had to investigate.

World of Lucid Dreaming lends credence to the concept of lucid dreaming existing in real life…down to the dream door. Controlling your dreams through lucid dreaming has been written about in Psychology Today, The Atlantic, and Scientific American. My Google search for “can you inhabit someone else’s body through lucid dreaming” revealed far less scientific results and more discussion threads between people that sounded like quacks.

Being somewhat of a realist, it’s difficult to wrap my head around the entire concept of controlling your dreams. And throw the “inhabiting someone else’s body” on top and it sounds outlandish to me…despite what I found on the Internet. However, knowing at least some level of lucid dreaming could possibly happen in real life makes me give that plot gimmick a tad (but just a tad) more leeway than I did before my research.

Did any other aspects of the book bother you?

Two things stood out to me:

  • I thought it was a total stretch that Louise also happened to suffer from night terrors. It was somewhat believable that Adele and Rob both suffered from them since they met in a treatment facility. But, Louise was a coincidence that felt too random to me…and it’s more unforgivable since the entire story hinges on this coincidence.
  • I questioned Louise’s motivation to take numerous drastic steps to uncover the truth behind the Martins’ marriage (i.e. breaking into her old office), investigate the fire that killed Adele’s parents, and to go after Adele following her “suicide text.” Why would she take these kinds of risks especially given she was putting her young son in danger…and/or risking leaving him motherless if something should happen to her? As a mother, I just didn’t buy it.

Let’s discuss! What did you think of Behind Her Eyes overall and the ending in particular?

Behind Her Eyes was a February 2017 Book of the Month Club selection.
Sign up for a 1-month, 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month Book of the Month membership and get your first month for only $5!
(Special February Deal: get a free BOTM tote when you sign up for a 3 month membership)


Get Weekly Email Updates!

26 Responses to “Behind Her Eyes and THAT Ending: Spoiler Discussion (#WTFthatending)”

  1. Amy @ Read a Latte

    The body switching thing was insane I admit, but the book overall really worked for me! I have a review going up later this morning too, and I think because it was so tense all the way through, I really enjoyed the reading experience as a whole. I’m with you though in Louise going way too far to find things out, and it seemed like Adam didn’t even have to be there at all.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Oh man – you sadly nailed it about Adam almost not needing to be there at all. I think I would rather them have just cut the character entirely. I did hate that last paragraph of the book insinuating that Rob/Adele was going to kill Adam. Just pushed me over the edge I was already teetering on.

  2. Kay

    Glad you decided to begin this discussion. As you know, I’m much more of a mystery/thriller reader than many. It’s not quite all I read, but most of what I read. Because of that, I often know that a book is going to have a twist or whatever and I actively spend the time puzzling out what I surmise will happen. As I did with this one. I also have read quite a few books in the ‘paranormal’ vein. That’s what I’m calling this ‘body switching’ thing. So, all this to say that I have a bit of experience figuring out the end. I like the puzzle. And I don’t mind a little ‘out there/paranormal’ storyline.

    I did make a guess that there would something like the body-switching. The first time I thought that was when the ‘leaving the body and looking down on life and neighbors’ began. I wondered at that moment how far the consciousness could go. Especially when Louise found Adele unconscious at Adele’s home. The description of the two of them in the dreaming state was very similar. I did think that David and Adele were in things together (the fire, Rob, using Louise), but it seemed too obvious and there was also David’s drinking – seemed to make him unreliable. After Adele switched bodies with Louise in the end, I wondered again about Rob, remembering back to when Louise talked with Rob’s sister and the sister’s opinion about Rob. So, the final ‘reveal’ was not as much of a surprise. I also wondered if somehow Adele knew about Louise’s night terrors even before David began working with her and orchestrated his new job like she did her ‘accidental’ introduction to Louise. Guess not though. As to Louise taking so many steps, well, she was being programmed by a master manipulator. I was disappointed about her behavior regarding Adam. The only thing that saved me from being way too upset by that was that Adam’s father and stepmother had finally began taking an interest in him. My final feelings about this book were colored by the last things that Rob/Adele/Louise thought about Adam and how ‘accidents happen’ to little boys. For me, that was unacceptable. And majorly annoying.

    Actually, that was the main problem I had with GONE GIRL. The people in it were all despicable. Which was OK enough, I guess, though I do like to have at least one person that I can ‘like’. What upset me was the fact that there would be a child. With those people. Made me throw the book at the wall, so to speak. Just a little ‘hot button’ of mine. Guess that’s all for me. Nice to get to ‘have my say’. LOL

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Now, this would have made the whole thing more believable to me:

      “I also wondered if somehow Adele knew about Louise’s night terrors even before David began working with her and orchestrated his new job like she did her ‘accidental’ introduction to Louise.”

      You should take up a new career as a beta reader for thrillers! Poking holes, making the story better, etc…

      And I completely agree about the last bit about Adam. UGH. Just too much. Even though dislikable characters in general don’t bother me…that was just too much.

  3. Anita

    I’m so glad you wrote this post. I also wanted to throw the book against the wall!! I was like…no, just no! When the discussion of the second door kept coming up I wasn’t relating it to this deep lucid dreaming and perhaps crossing other realms of reality. The rest of the book was well done, the manipulation of Louise by Adele. I did wonder how she knew all the things about David and Louise, but it was well done. I felt all along that the disappearance of Rob was going to be an issue, but still the ending really surprised me.
    I hope you won’t mind if I link this post to my review, for others that may have read and not loved the ending. Great post Sarah!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I agree that the manipulation was well done and would’ve really loved the book if it had stuck to that….or hinged on that is maybe a better word. The ending wouldn’t have been as crazy, but I think there’s such a thing as too crazy.

      And of course I’d love for you to link to my post – thank you!

  4. Annie

    “: Adele will trick David or Louise into killing her. She wants to die anyway and she’ll get revenge on either of them by letting them live with the guilt of killing her” I totally thought this was the case.

    I found the book really addictive but the ending was a big NO for me. Although my feelings were still positive because it had been a gripping read, the more I think about it (it’s been like 2 months) the less I like it.

    If it’s a thriller, I don’t want fantasy stuff, I was expecting something believable, I thought the whole second door thing was cheating. I wanted a real explanation!

    I don’t mind fantasy storylines WHEN all the elements are there from the beginning.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Glad I wasn’t the only one! I’m not a fantasy fan either and think I’d be more receptive to a plot like this in a fantasy book. But, throwing the fantasy element into a thriller…and in such an important way…felt like a gimmick to me.

      I do think Adele manipulating Louise would have made for a great thriller in and of itself. Wish she’d just focused on that.

  5. Jenny @ Reading the End

    HUH. What a deeply weird ending — I’m sorry it didn’t work for you! As my blog name implies, I like being spoiled for everything, especially if the marketing hinges around there being a big twist. I went into Gone Girl with full knowledge of the twist, and really loved it. But, hm. Okay. I kind of can’t decide if I want to read this now!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      So this is interesting…you love spoiling the ending. I’m curious why. Does suspense then lie in the “how” not the “what”? If so, I really love that type of suspense too.

      So, I’d be really curious about your thoughts on this one knowing the ending going in! That would be a cool perspective – hint, hint…read it!!

  6. Kathy @ Kathy Reads Fiction

    Okay, I totally scrolled to the bottom of the page, averting my eyes and singing do-wah-diddy-diddy-dum-diddy-do (like I’m hearing something, right)to skip all the spoilers to say that I’m coming back to this post next week after reading Behind Her Eyes. I’m starting it on Monday (I hope).

  7. Jennifer | Book Den

    I love that you wrote down your guesses! I try my best not to guess ahead when I’m reading, but I couldn’t help it with this one. I was constantly wondering, too. (That was some good marketing.) I certainly never guessed the ending here.

    I normally hate when an ending is hyped up because I spend the entire book looking forward to it being over. That’s usually not a good thing. It was fine for me in this case.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I usually don’t try to guess, but since the ending was so hyped in advance, I just couldn’t help it! Constantly guessing was kind of annoying, though.

      So I’m curious why did the hyped ending work for you in this case even though it normally doesn’t?

  8. Greg

    This is so interesting because I’ve been seeing reviews for this and wondering if I should take the plunge. I’ve been really into psych thrillers lately. And I shouldn’t read a spoilery review but I couldn’t resist! 🙂 Maybe it’s good that I did because that ending… yeah I think I would be like no way. It just sounds too out there…

    I like your guesses though. It’s fun to do that even if we end up wrong! I had no idea lucid dreaming was a thing?? And inhabiting someone’s body through lucid dreaming seems so paranormal-ish, but I’m curious enough now that I’ll check out some of those links. I’m glad I read this, spoilers and all, so if I do read it I know what I’m getting into!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      So now that you now how it ends, do you think you’ll read it? I guess I do watch The Bachelor even though I read the spoiler blog!

      I had no idea lucid dreaming was a thing, either! And I learned something else about sleep behavior through Chris Bohjalian’s The Sleepwalker…big year for sleep dysfunction books..haha!

      • Greg Hill

        You know, I just might. I’ve been having good luck with thrillers lately and while this one does seem a little out there with that ending, I do tend to like paranormal and SF stuff so maybe it won’t throw me too much! And I’m less likely to hate the ending if it does fall flat, since I know what to expect. 🙂

  9. Veeda

    The million dollar question I had after reading this book was y in the gods name was every1 falling madly in love with david he has 2 b 1 one of the most annoying character I have ever read yet adele, louise, then even rob all r obbsessed with him lol anyway ever1 keeps on saying that all the characters were unlikable but wat about the real adele? In the past the story is frm her viewpoint n shes a very sweet character n in the end my heart went out 4 her becuz david would always hate her the 1 person she loved the most n it was very touching how davids watch falls down with robs body becuz adeles soul was attached 2 it

  10. Ann Marie

    Everything, everything, everything you said. It was WTF for me in a very NOT good way… I’m so glad to hear that many of my fellow, trusted bloggers have the same opinion of this book. I felt duped and resented that this book was not categorized in the appropriate genre for the sole purpose of duping me.
    The lucid dreaming stuff was ludicrous. I am a lucid dreamer. I have vivid dreams I can recall almost every night. If I’m dreaming something truly terrifying, I can recognize it within the dream and tell myself to wake up. But that’s where it ends. I wake up. I do not see a door where I enter another dimension, switch bodies with anyone else, etc. I can’t fall asleep and observe other people.

  11. Lauren

    This book is starting to irk me as much as The Girl on the Train. It’s a book made by a marketing push. I have not yet heard from one person I know that they actually liked the WTF ending. To the contrary, it has rendered many of my sane reader friends insane, especially after they liked the start of the book. There’s WTF and then there’s Seriously, What The Fuck? Glad I can miss this one, thanks for the spoiler review.

  12. April

    I am currently listening to the audio version of this book and it is driving me insane! I thought it would end up being that Adele is crazy as a bed bug and has something on David that could possibly make people question him being involved with the death of her parents and that is why he stays. I thought that she would continue to give Louise JUST enough evidence to convince her that David is this crazy, psychotic mastermind, but eventually either David, Sophie or even the crazy guy Anthony would put two and two together and Adele would be on the brink of being caught but would somehow kill herself. David would finally be free of Adele and he and Louise could live happily ever after.

    I have thought all along that Adele really wrote the dream book and not Rob, it was just too fishy that Adele would have it back. For a little while, I thought that it would end up being that Adele and Louise were actually the same person with split personalities for something lol. I REALLY like David though and I wanted him and Louise to end up together. I have felt all along that Adele was orchestrating the entire thing to look like the wounded, abused wife. I know that liking David makes me look like a complete schmuck, but it is what it is 🙂

    I am at the point in the book where Adele is telling Louise her suspicions about David killing Rob.

  13. Jess

    Thank you thank you for posting the spoilers! I’ve fallen for all “the next Gone Girl” books in the last few years (The Girl on the Train, Behind Closed Doors), and none of them have lived up to the hype for me. I’m definitely taking a pass on this one. Thanks for saving me from some reading rage! 🙂

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge