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Woman in the Wall Paperback – September 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141301244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141301242
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An agoraphobic seven-year-old girl retreats into secret passages she has built in her house until her family nearly forgets her. PW said, "Kindle follows her magical Owl in Love with a novel featuring an equally gripping premise." Ages 10-14.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8. Exceedingly shy Anna, 14, narrates her life story. When she is seven, her mother tells her she must go to school. The school psychologist arrives at the run-down family mansion only to mistake Anna for a doll and somehow ends up with her in her purse. This is enough to impel the child to hide in a secret room she has readied overnight by putting up a false wall in the family library. Over the years, she adds new rooms, passages, a kitchen, peepholes; and no one notices. Although she continues repairing, baking, and sewing as her family requests, gradually her mother and older sister, Andrea, choose to forget her. When one of Andrea's ignored admirers sticks a love letter addressed to "A" into a crack in the stairs, Anna answers it, thus setting in motion a chain of events that lead to her discovery. This story cannot make up its mind what it wants to be. It could be fantasy. Rooms diminish and disappear. No one pays much attention to this engineering prodigy scurrying through the walls for seven years. Yet Kindl's messy ruminations on puberty drag the story kicking and screaming back to realism. At any rate, it is a disturbing novel. Anna's mother's casual acceptance of her daughter's self-imposed isolation will be unsettling to many children, and readers are not privy to the woman's explanation of the sudden appearance of a third daughter to her soon-to-be husband. The author's shrill Victorian trill pushes the story in a gothic direction. For a more palatable offering on shyness delivered with a hint of Victorian flavor, try Jean Ure's The Children Next Door (Scholastic, 1996).?Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Patrice Kindl's first novel, Owl in Love, was an ALA Notable Book for Children, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and an SCBWI Golden Kite Award Honor Book. She lives in Middleburgh, New York.

Customer Reviews

I think it would be a great book for book clubs to read and discuss.
Safway Library
And the story seems to speed toward an ending that feels rushed and unresolved.
Jenna Czaplewski
One morning I woke up, started this book, and read it for an hour straight!
An 11-year old reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was great! It is about a little girl named Anna who is very shy and likes to hide. One day Anna feels that she is at high risk when her mom wants to send her to school and to see a physchologist. To overcome her risk Anna decides to build a secret world inside the walls of her house. When Anna is in the walls she watches her famly and her older sister, Andrea's parties.I think that this book was really interesting. It is a book for people who enjoy reading books that are different. I recommend this book if you don't like scary books, but you do like a little bit of mystery. It is the type of book you cannot put down once you start, you have to keep reading.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Emera on March 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
Rendered nearly invisible by her painful shyness, Anna is the middle girl of three sisters living with their mother in a rambling Victorian home. Traumatized by the impending threat of school, at seven years old she retreats into passageways and secret rooms of her own construction, and lives within the walls of her home for the next seven and a half years. Anna is content to hide away, nearly forgotten by even her family, until her own growth as a woman renders her 'invisibility' no longer possible. A stray love note pushed through the walls of her refuge appeals to her developing emotions, and the time approaches for Anna to once more venture into the outside world.

The premise of The Woman in the Wall is fascinating: a forgotten daughter rendered into a living household ghost, a home concealed within a home. At first its wistful style offers a playful mix of Gothic fairy tale and surreal modern fantasy, but Kindl's writing almost immediately falls short of its aim. As jarringly mundane aspects of Anna's adolescence are introduced, the book increasingly dissolves into a weepy, implausible pastiche. Normally I have no problem with suspension of disbelief when it's called for, but here the fantasy robs the mundane parts of believability, and the mundane parts are rude interruptions of the fantasy. The narration careens between "artsy," "quirky" whimsy and typical adolescent histrionics, without any working integration. Though arguably this could be construed as a reflection of Anna's emergence from her fantasy hideaway into the real world, it mostly felt as if the author was trying to do too much without having the skill to support it.

Essentially, the book is too much pretension and not enough substance. Though Anna's story could have been a moving modern fairy tale about escapism and self-isolation, The Woman in the Wall more often seems clumsy, superficial, and implausible.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Patrice Kindl, author of "Owl in Love," produces yet another captivating story with her newest release, "The Woman in the Wall." The novel is written in first person, from the perspective of 14 year-old Anna Newland. Anna is not your typical teenage girl, though. Unlike her sisters, Andrea and Kirsty, who always seem to stand out, Anna wants just the opposite...to blend in. However, it's not people she wants to blend in with, so much as, the house. Or put more distinctively, the walls.
Anna lived in an old Queen Anne Victorian that was more like a mansion than a house and was built in the 1880's. She resided there with her mother and two sisters. Andrea was three years older than Anna and Kirsty was two years younger, so Anna was the middle child. Their father disappeared when Anna was only three. Anna, though extremely shy, had always been a very clever child and by the age of seven she had not only learned to sew clothes, but was also very handy with tools. She never wanted any recognition for the things she did, in fact, it was her desire to go through life completely unnoticed. It was because of this retiring disposition that when Ms. Newland insisted Anna go to school, she hid.
Anna created a small room out of plasterboard, lumber, and empty space that was actually just a room and passageway. The room was under the stairs and could only be entered through the basement. It had never been her intention to live there, just to have a secure hiding place but after an incident involving the psychologist from the school, Anna began coming out less and less. In fact, she built more and more secret passages. As time went on she only snuck out at night to get food. She had everything she needed within the walls and could go almost anywhere in the house, undetected.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By An 11-year old reader on October 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
One morning I woke up, started this book, and read it for an hour straight! It ws so good my eyes were zooming across the pages and I ended up reading half of the book! It's about a girl named Anna who loves her family but is really really shy. When she is seven,her mother wants her to go to school and she gets scared, so she builds secret passageways in the wall. She lives in there for seven years, baking treats, making outfits, and repairing things for her family but never letting them see her. One day she has to face the biggest decision of her life, stay in the walls when her family moves away, or come out and join her family.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
The Woman in the Wall is a preteen-level read about a young girl named Anna. Anna has always been extremely shy, and claims that 'leaving the house would be like asking me to strip off my skin.' When, at seven years old, her mother conveys that she needs to go to school, Anna takes immediate action. She literally takes apart some of the wall and builds a number of passageways within it. As seven years go by, her family forgets that she is there.

When Anna starts to develop physically, she realizes that she is changing. And when a young man calling himself only 'F' unknowingly pushes a note into her hiding place, Anna thinks it's addressed to her, although it is for her older sister, Andrea.

At the end, a thrilling climax ends with her being rediscovered by her family at Andrea's Halloween party, and a reunion that was unanticipated by all.

This book is excellent, and I highly recommend it for anyone who has ever been shy, and, like Anna, wishes to hide within the wall.
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