Book Review – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
June 3, 2015
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?
A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.
This book has been on the bestseller list for weeks, and I’ve heard so many rave reviews. It also has been compared to Gone Girl numerous times (a book that I highly enjoyed). I was excited when my book club selected for May. Here are my thoughts after finishing and discussing at book club:
On the Plus Side:
- This book keeps you guessing until close to the end (I did manage to figure it out before it was revealed, but I still found it suspenseful).
- I enjoyed the book shifting between 3 female POV’s. Each woman had a very different personality and perspective, and it made for interesting contrasts throughout the novel.
- From what I have heard, the novel does a good job of portraying alcoholism. I even learned more about the phenomenon of blackouts. The alcoholism also provides a unique spin on your average thriller.
- I think the female characters are very well developed, but I felt that the male characters could have been developed a tad more. I do think I had a fairly good understanding of the men overall, but they weren’t quite as vivid to me as the women.
- I loved London as a setting for the novel. I sooooooooo can’t wait to visit there some day (Holly…..I hope you’re still there when I make it ). I was able to hear Hawkins speak on a panel and her accent is delightful to listen to!
- I love that people and relationships are not portrayed in an idealistic fashion. We all have issues, and we all struggle with some aspect of life at some point, and I like that this novel reflects that uncertainty about life.
On the Minus Side:
- If you enjoy lots of love and romance, then you will probably be disappointed with this selection. Although you have moments where you may swoon, overall it leaves you feeling disappointed with love and long term relationships.
Overall, this is an entertaining read. It may not be as good as Gone Girl (in my humble opinion), but you will still enjoy it!
What did you think of The Girl on the Train?