Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

 The Girl on the Train 

Synopsis: 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 watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She looks forward to it. She's even started to feel like she knows 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. Noe everything's changed. Unable to keep her discovery to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? 

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut. 

Date Published: January 13, 2015
Published By: Riverhead Books
Number of Pages: 316
Rating: 4/5

Touted as the new Gone Girl, the popularity of this debut novel has exploded this year, breaking book sales records and is already in the process of being made into a film. So does it live up to the hype?

I would say yes. But also, no.

Let me explain. I love Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. So, of course, I'm going to compare The Girl on the Train to it. And while I found it to be a compelling, psychological thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed, I still love Flynn's Girl just a little bit more. 

Okay, enough comparisons. Let's talk about the merits of the book itself.

The Girl on the Train is told from multiple perspectives, all of them female. They are all connected to each other in some way and all of them feel differently towards each other. Rachel's POV is the most prominent seeing as she is the main character. And here's something you need to know about Rachel: she might be one of the most unlikable characters I've ever read. She's a pathetic, jealous alcoholic who refuses to let go of the past. And yet, you still sympathize with her. You can't help but root for her, to not only solve the mystery but to get her life together. 

I would actually say that none of the characters in this book are particularly likable. And that's okay. Better than okay, it's refreshing to read about real people with all of their flaws laid bare on the page. It makes for a more interesting story. 

About the story itself: it's a competent mystery with lots of different twists and turns. There was one moment in the book that I found genuinely shocking. (And no, it wasn't the ending.) The ending itself...I kind of guessed it during the last hundred pages or so. I almost wish the twist was a little bit bigger, a little more unexpected. 

Overall, it really is a great thriller and I can definitely see why so many people are reading and enjoying this book. I'm excited to see the film version and I will definitely be reading whatever Paula Hawkins chooses to write next. 

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