Monday, March 16, 2015

Julie's Review: The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkins
Series: None
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Pages: 336
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Thriller
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Trippy
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Summary: 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? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.  

Review: The Girl on the Train is a trippy thriller with not a single likable character. I am of the thought though that you can still appreciate a book even if you can't like or identify with the characters. Rachel is a drunk. Megan has some mental issues. Anna is a narcissist veiled as a loving wife and mother. Don't even get me started on the men in the book. Pretty much all of the characters are pathetic. That doesn't mean you shouldn't read this book because you should if you like thrillers especially ones that have you turning the page wondering what the heck was going on.

The novel alternates views but for this reader the most interesting POV was Rachel's. Was she seeing things as they really were or was her alcohol swimming brain altering her view? I vacillated between feeling sorry for Rachel and finding her pathetic. In the end though, I felt sorry for her. She was emotionally abused and walked all over. These things take a toll on someone and can change a person and how they cope with life. Rachel needs to take control of her life and by the end of novel I had hope for her.

Unfortunately for most of the novel Rachel is desperate to have some normalcy in her life so she makes up lives for the people she sees out the window of her train. She's desperate to be involved in something that she really does pick the wrong situation to insert herself into.

I figured the mystery out about halfway through the novel but I wanted to see how Ms. Hawkins would reveal it to the characters. I kind of hate to admit this but in the end I feel like Anna got what was coming to her. In many ways she was no better or different than the men in the novel. She was a home-wrecker who chose to not see the signs that things weren't what they seemed.

I know this book is getting a lot of comparison to Gone Girl but other than the unreliable narrator I don't see the similarities. I thought the ending of Gone Girl was much more twisted than The Girl on the Train.

If you want to read a page-turner of a thriller, then you should definitely pick up The Girl on the Train.



techeditor March 16, 2015 at 6:20 PM  

I read this, too. It is overhyped. I think Riverhead, the publisher, is doing a great marketing job for this book, right down to its very clever cover. But after all this hype, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN disappoints. It isn't as unputdownable as claimed until the last couple of chapters. It wasn't for me.

Rachel is a raging alcoholic who has opinions about people that are often based on nothing and are always wrong. The entire book is about her alcoholic blackouts and figuring out what really happened.

Some things about this book are aggravating. For instance, during tense moments, characters, especially Rachel, bite their lips, often so hard they draw blood. I could just imagine all the people walking around with bloody mouths they had chewed.

The biggest aggravation is difficult to describe without saying too much and spoiling the story. It has to do with how everything is explained in the end. It is too easy for an author to "solve" mysteries this way. Unacceptable, I say.

Pat @ Posting For Now March 18, 2015 at 12:44 PM  

I enjoyed your review Julie. I have this book on my To Read list.

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