The Girl on the Train: Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train

After having seen this described as “this year’s Gone Girl” I was prepared not to like this book but as it was a book club choice and I fancied an easy thriller, I thought I would give it a go. I was pleasantly surprised as although there are some obvious comparisons (the unreliable female narrator, for example) I think this is a much better book all round.

Rachel Watson takes the same trains to and from her workplace everyday. She is an alcoholic and struggling to come to terms with her recent divorce. From the window, she watches a couple on their terrace near her old marital home and imagines a life for them. One day her illusions are shattered as she sees the woman with another man, and then the next day it is revealed that she is missing. Rachel desperately wants to help find her but is hampered not only by the fact that her ex-husband and his new wife and child live nearby and think she is stalking them, but that she doesn’t know who she can trust, even herself and her own memory.

Tense and intriguing, The Girl on the Train really was, for me, un-put-down-able. I felt like I could really identify and sympathise with Rachel who was trapped in a cycle of depression and drinking which clouded everything she did and I really felt her frustration. The other narrators, Megan (the missing woman) and Anna (the new wife of Rachel’s ex) are also well drawn and believable. Although it is a crime thriller, it doesn’t follow the usual predictable format and although I did guess at the culprit about half way through, I was still hooked by the drip, drip, drip of revelations and clues.

4.5 stars

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