Book Review : The Girl on the Train

Book Review : The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Published by Riverhead Books on January 13th 2015
Pages: 336
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The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives.
EVERY DAY THE SAMERachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. 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.
UNTIL TODAYAnd 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 goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

For a book about a girl on a train, Paula Hawkin’s novel certainly is a fast-paced rollercoaster ride of a whodunnit. I picked this book up late one evening and stayed up past 2am reading it. I simply couldn’t put it down. Much like “Gone Girl” the main characters have very few redeeming qualities. However, I felt more invested in Rachel Watson–a divorcee alcoholic who has lost not only her marriage to the bottle, but also her job, her confidence, and her motivation for anything but her next drink–than I felt in “Gone Girl”‘s similarly flawed Nick or Amy Dunne.


On her daily commute to London, Rachel sees the same couple, whom she affectionately dubs Jess and Jason, and pictures what their fairy tale life is like from her seat on the train. But her belief in their perfect life comes crashing down when she witnesses “Jess” kissing another man. Outraged by this reminder of her own ex-husband’s affair, Rachel is determined to set things right by telling Jason about his wife’s cheating. But things are turned upside down when “Jess,” really Megan Hippwell, is reported missing. Filled with a new sense of purpose, Rachel insinuates herself into the investigation and “Jason”–Scott Hippwell’s–life.

It should have been painful to watch a woman with so little dignity, and who is even deemed an unreliable witness by the police, stumble around drunk as she pitifully scrambles to find a sense of importance in any way she can. At times, I mentally groaned as Rachel made yet another huge blunder, calling her ex-husband yet again, showing up at his house, pretending she still had a job, making false claims about a friendship with Megan, lying to her flatmate about joining AA–was there anything this woman could do right? A more fitting title for the novel could even have been “Trainwreck Girl.” However, through all of these mistakes and glimpses of who Rachel used to be, I couldn’t help but to root for her to somehow pull it together.

However that seems less likely than ever, when Megan’s body is found and Scott becomes suspect #1, and Rachel finds herself irretrievably involved in an increasingly dangerous situation. As she struggles to piece together the drunken events of the night Megan disappeared, she realizes that she may have witnessed more than what she had seen from her view on the train. Like Rachel, I could’t imagine who was responsible for Megan’s murder, even with the benefit of glimpses into the adulterous woman’s point of view. “The Girl on the Train” kept me guessing almost to the very end and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a fast-paced mystery with complex and human characters.

Girl on the Train - - Book Reviews

Posted July 17, 2015 in Book Reviews, Mystery, Thrillers, and Horror

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