Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train (click on book or see below for description)
By Paula Hawkins
Released 1/13/15
Won from a Goodreads contest!  (yay me!)

Rating: 4 bones

I’m really funny with my reading, obviously I read a lot, and have gained the lovely title of “professional reader” courtesy of Netgalley, but I’m not usually with the “in” crowd of reading. I read what I think I will like and usually a lot of publicity around a book turns me off, unless ofcourse I can get my hand on said book for free!  And then this case – both the description of the book and availability to that book worked out for me!  So I feel cool for once, as everyone seems to be talking about this book and it appears to be #1 on many lists.  Some have related to “Gone Girl” and here is perfect case and point – I haven’t read Gone Girl yet (ahhh!) because I haven’t wanted to pay for it (or wait for it at the library.)  But thanks to my sister-in-law – I now have a copy and shall be reading very soon.  But no comparison here for me, I feel a backwards one coming later on!

This book lived up to the hype, a psychological thriller, page-turner, bone-chilling debut novel for Ms. Hawkins.  I read it pretty fast (3 sittings) and like many of the thrillers I’ve read, lots of build-up to a pretty crazy ending.  This one was unique in that there were three narrators of the story.  Rachel “the girl on the train”, an obnoxious alcoholic divorcee, living in denial, spending too much time on the train, and living vicariously through others.  The book is always present time for her, with thoughts of the past.  Megan, “Jess” as dubbed initially by Rachel, the mysterious woman Rachel becomes fascinated with is another narrator.  Megan’s story begins the year prior to give the reader some background information to catch them up to present time and introduce to a few other minor characters.  And then Anna is the third, the “other woman” who Rachel’s ex, Tom, left her for, new mother, a bit obsessive, very territorial, and very paranoid. Only bits and pieces are revealed from her when things started escalating, but another interesting viewpoint of the story.

From the description, I thought there would be a little more build-up of the fanciful life of “Jess & Jason” Rachel created from viewing them from the train, but the story doesn’t take long to jump into action.  One July night, something happens, and the book takes us through the process to figure out just what that was.  There are lots of characters to keep track of, nothing too overwhelming, just lots of sub-plots.  Definitely had me, the reader, engaged in coming up with theories, which got closer as the book went on, but there were enough twists and turns to keep it very interesting and me guessing til the very end.

The one problem I have with the book that I think is keeping me from 5 bones was the characters.  They all pretty much sucked (if they were real people).  And I’m sure that was intentional and I don’t know if I would have enjoyed the story more had they been more likable, but I had no sympathy/empathy for any of them and wanted them all to get what they had coming to them.  That sounds terrible but they all really made a lot of poor decisions and just were not good people.  But combine a bunch of people like that and great writing and it makes for an entertaining, unpredictable story!

So someday I’ll read Gone Girl and let you know, but The Girl on the Train was a face-paced, thrilling story, kept me guessing, and wanting to pick it up each night.  You won’t be disappointed if you read it, but there are some other really great thrillers out there that aren’t getting this much press that you should definitely look up too!

Book Description:

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?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

1 Comment

Filed under Chapters

One response to “Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

  1. Mom

    Sounds great! I’ll have to read this one. I just saw Gone Girl on cable. Pretty crazy…..


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