Thursday, April 23, 2015

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Published January 13th 2015 by Riverhead Books
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.

My Thoughts
I’m not a huge fan of psychological thrillers or murder mysteries, but this book really captured my interest! I kept seeing the title pop up on my feed, so when I had an opportunity to grab the audio from Overdrive, I jumped right on it. Again, this is a novel where the audio version probably enhances the experience of the story. Very well narrated!

The Girl on the Train is definitely an extreme exercise in character connection and believability. The story is told from three different POVs, and frankly I didn't know who to rely on for the truth. Rachel, Anna and Megan each commanded the stage with their stories, but only one earned my compassion.

Rachel is the primary protagonist of the story. She travels the London train every morning and late afternoon in commute to a job she lost months ago, but must keep up the façade as to not alarm her flatmate about the true dire situation she is in. Rachel’s life took a downward spiral a couple of years ago when her husband cheated on her, got another woman pregnant and married her to start a new life. This all happened at a time when Rachel was struggling to conceive causing her to resort to drinking. On the train, Rachel sees the neighborhood she once lived in and begins to make up stories about a couple she sees inhabiting a home a few houses down from where she once lived.

Megan is a trouble young lady who is married to a possessive and jealous husband. She has a troubled past and begins to see a therapist for her issues. The relationship gets complicated, Megan goes missing and everyone suspects the husband of foul play. Oh and did I mention, this is the couple Rachel fantasizes has the ideal life?

Anna is the selfish, self center woman that stole Rachel’s husband and is living the perfect life with Thomas, but not without occasional run-ins with Rachel.

All three women, none of whom appear to be reliable in their narration, share their story in unique yet captivating voices. The plot circles around a missing Megan and the events that led up to her disappearance as well as the investigation that was blotched from the very beginning. As the mystery unfolded, I was absolutely intrigued, and the ultimate ending had me shaking my head in slight disbelieve and mild gratification.

The Girl on the Train is not one to pass by on the station. Solid storytelling with twists and turns that keep it exciting and intense!
4 Suns

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