The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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?

When The Girl on the Train popped up on my Amazon homepage and was described as a ‘Gone Girl’ type thriller I immediately added it to my birthday list. Gone Girl was one of my favourite books of 2014 so I was expecting something good. Sadly, I was disappointed.

The story is narrated by three main female characters: Rachel, Anna and Megan. Rachel is struggling after splitting up with her husband; she has turned to alcohol and her life is spinning out of control. Anna is Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife. Megan is a woman Rachel sees every morning from the train window, and who later goes missing.

The story is centred on the disappearance of Megan. When Rachel sees her photo in the paper she realises she may have some information that could help the investigation, however, due to her problems with alcohol she is not taken seriously by the police. She soon becomes obsessed with the mystery and becomes more and more involved with the case.

One of my main problems with the book was that none of the characters were likeable. Although the characters in Gone Girl aren’t likeable either, Gillian Flynn is very good at manipulating your emotions so you feel strong feelings towards them. In The Girl on the Train, however, I didn’t feel particularly connected to any of the characters, and so I didn’t really care much about what was going to happen to them. The ending was probably the most exciting part, but I found the lead up quite slow – it wasn’t completely terrible but I certainly wouldn’t compare it to Gone Girl.


4 thoughts on “The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

  1. t. says:

    Sounds interesting. Whenever I’ve heard about this book, the reviews have been so overwhelmingly positive that it’s made me skeptical. Thank you for being a little more realistic (lol). I’m still not sure if I should pick it up but this is great review!

    • alice says:

      Thank you! I wouldn’t say it was awful, just that I was expecting more from the reviews I read and because I enjoyed Gone Girl so much (which it was compared to)…maybe I just expected too much!

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