Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Literary – Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
The name of this book is often uttered in the same breath as Gone Girl, which (I believe) is why it gets as much flack as it does. I was able to successfully remove myself from the hype of this book, and I found it to be a gripping and enjoyable read! So I’d say not to just trust people who say it’s not good and try it out for yourself.
This book is told from the point of view of three women – Rachel, Megan and Anna. It’s mostly told by Rachel and Megan, though. I would say the biggest problem I had with this book was that Rachel and Megan’s voices really ran together a lot. They felt too similar, especially in the first half of the book. I would have to check while I was reading sometimes and make sure it was in the POV I thought it was. No bueno.
We learn early on that Rachel is an Alcoholic who has black-out spells and is generally unstable. Her black-outs are a pretty convenient plot device as she cannot remember anything she has said or done when she blacks out. I didn’t have a real problem with that, but like I said…it was convenient.
The Girl on the Train is chock-full of unlikeable characters (which I think was purposeful). The only “good” character is Cathy, Rachel’s super patient flatmate who is constantly putting up with her shit. At the beginning I felt sorry for Rachel as her life seemed to be in shambles, but later she was honestly just bringing it on herself. I mean, girl… shut the hell up!
Some people can’t take it if a book has too many unlikeable characters. For me, I’m finding that I generally don’t mind if the book is a thriller/mystery. I’m not really reading a thriller to fall in love with the characters. I just want to get my mind blown! If it’s a contemporary or something, that’s when I have an issue.
I think the creepiest thing about this book is how grounded it was. Rachel is just a commuter who rides the train every morning and evening and she got herself tied up in all this crazy shit! Granted, she isn’t the most stable person, but it’s not something that could never happen in real life.
I like to read thrillers and mysteries and see where the ride takes me. I don’t actively try to figure things out, so I did not see the ending coming. I do think that if you pay attention you could most likely solve it, though. Definitely give this book a try if you so desire. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it! Give it at least 100 pages, and if you aren’t feeling it then it’s probably not for you. My rating for The Girl on the Train is…
Have you read The Girl on the Train? What did you think of it?