Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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Title: The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkins

Published: 2015

Pages: 323

Genre: Thriller

Format: Book borrowed from library

My rating:  4.5/5

Reading Challenge: A mystery or thriller

Synopsis:

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.
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?

Review:

There are not enough words to describe how fast I flew through this novel to figure out what in the heck is going on. Not usually a thriller genre type of reader, I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly obsessed and immersed I became with the story.  Just when I thought I had something figure out, bam, Hawkins hits me with another curve-ball.

I’ll be honest, at first, I was concerned that the story would be closely related to that of Gone Girl, however although there were some moments of deja vu, I believe that The Girl on the Train has its own fresh storyline and twists and turns throughout.  How could it not when the plot never slows down, especially with the help of smooth transitions of perspective to perspective, each one ending on a cliffhanger. I loved how no main character remained consistent in my opinions of them as I, along with each of the three women, were trying to figure out what happened? My emotions ranged from pity to hatred and anxiety to fear over and over throughout the story. There were moments where I had no idea what to think and I wanted to throw my hands in the air and give up trying to figure it all out.

Framed in the suburbs of London, I could see how this could play out in any bustling area in the world, kind of like a Desperate Housewives feel with so much happening within the neighborhood – secrets being kept, relationships being hidden, and rumors being spread. I enjoyed how much of the story was based on what people thought they were seeing, concocting stories in their minds as well as utilizing their imaginations to fill in the holes. That is not uncommon amongst folks who people watch and think up elaborate ideas about who those people really are. It makes me wonder if we dive in to deep, do we end up believing in it or shattering the illusion – something are female characters experience far too often.

My only criticism was that the ending seemed a bit rushed, but with a nice tied bow for closure – which I am usually for. Maybe the haste to conclude the story is just following what the 300+ pages were already doing, trying to keep pace with what we as readers were already experiencing, no two scenes too drawn out but the point being made.

Read The Girl on the Train if you like the themes of:

  • Jealousy
  • Relationships
  • Obsession
  • Alcoholism, Counseling
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Filed under Book Reviews, reading challenge

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