A book that has had a lot of attention in the online community recently is the best-selling novel of Paula Hawkins: The Girl on the Train. After hearing so many people talk about it I decided to give it a go.
What’s the book about?
The Girl on the Train is a thriller set up with alternating chapters that switch between ‘present day’ and the past, slowly letting the past catch up to the present. The book revolves around Rachel, a 30-something drunk who lost her husband to Anna and who also lost her job. However she still goes to London everyday from the suburb where she moved in with an old friend to be able to pretend she still has a job. On her train journey from the suburb to London, she passes her old street. The houses all have their backs towards the train tracks and she looks out to see what is going on. Her she spots a woman and a man who she starts to make an imaginary life for. One day she hears that the woman, Megan, has disappeared. Rachel quickly becomes obsessed with helping the case, even though she herself cannot remember the night Megan disappeared.
Most of the book is written from Rachel’s perspective, describing her morning (when she takes the train to London) and evening (when she takes the train back). However the chapters in the ‘past’ are written from Megan’s perspective, and some in the present near the end from Anna’s perspective.
What did I think of it?
I thought the main character was a wimp. She was just a really sad lady who could no longer help herself and constantly felt sorry for herself and grabbed booze as soon as she could. However during the book you understand her more and more and this made her character more likeable.
I thought the plot was gripping; I read the book really quickly and wanted to know what had happened. The ending was also different from what I had expected. Even if at some point I had the feeling who had done it, I did not see the ending coming.
Something I thought was good about the book was the character development. You start the book completely on the wrong foot, also because Rachel’s perspective is not completely trustworthy (she is a drunk after all who can’t remember everything). I liked that the characters slowly unfold and as you learn more about them, you start to be able to see why and how.
Should you read it?
Maybe. If you like mystery this is a good one. Also if you like complicated/unlikable characters, this is the book for you. It was not necessarily a book I would recommend, but it was an entertaining read.
Book: The Girl on the Train, Goodreads link
Writer: Paula Hawkins
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