The Girl on the Train

Title: The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkins

Publisher: Double Day

Release Date: January 2015

Source: Amazon

Rating: 4.5/5

Rachel 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 one she recently lost. (Goodreads)

When Megan, the woman in that house, goes missing, Rachel takes it upon herself to tell the police what she has seen during her commutes into London.  As an alcoholic whose drinking causes blackouts and memory loss, she becomes an unreliable witness and narrator.  But are her claims really all that dubious?

Paula Hawkins masterfully writes a suspenseful thriller told through the intertwined narratives of three women, each of them just as unreliable as the next.  And despite the number of narrators in this novel, we discover each of their histories and how they all link together on Blenheim Road.  Furthermore, Hawkins has a real talent for timing.  The novel lulls just when I thought I had it figured out, then suddenly she surprises with a new revelation, making it even more difficult to fit the pieces of this strange and mysterious puzzle together.

Every character in this novel is horrible.  They are liars, cheaters, secretive, scheming, abusive, and yet the novel makes a great case study in character development.  Reading the story through the eyes of each character and seeing them through the eyes of the other narrators gave me a whole new perspective on their character, their reasoning, and their problems.  I gained a new, different sense of understanding.  I began to see, and at times, empathize, with the reasoning behind their actions no matter how wrong or troubling they may have been.

This was a real page turner.  I read it mostly during my own train commuting and I would be lost in the mystery of pages before me for hours at a time, distracted only by my own nervousness of missing my stop.  My only set back while reading this novel, however, was that I sometimes became confused with whose perspective I was reading.  But I seem to do that whenever I read multiple-narrative novels, so it might just be me.

I highly recommend this to anyone in need of a good psychological thriller, because Paula Hawkins delivers in The Girl on the Train.  Literally seconds after reading the last pages of the novel, I gave it to my friend to read — that’s how much I loved it.



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