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Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Published by Riverhead Books on January 13th 2015
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: Waterstones
Purchase from: Amazon
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Rating:

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?

 

In honour of The Girl on the Train’s cinematic release today, here is my review.

 

This book was insanely good. Hyped by everyone as the next ‘Gone Girl’, I can safely say that in my opinion it certainly wasn’t on that level but it was an amazing-five-star read regardless.

 

I once read a book by a former alcoholic where she described giving oral sex to two different men, men she’d just met in a restaurant on a busy London high street. I read it and I thought, I’m not that bad. This is where the bar is set.

 

That quote alone set the bar for how much I knew I’d love this book. The characters were so authentic, complex, original and intriguing, most particularly Rachel, our resident alcoholic. Everyone in this book was a messed up, lying piece of shit with secrets hidden under secrets and it made for a great character study.

 

I think the most intriguing part about this whole book is the central character, Rachel, and how our perception of events and characters are all shaped by Rachel’s own perception. Her alcoholism leaves her with a series of blurry memories, blackouts and recollections where other people have had to fill in the gaps. How can we know and believe the full story when the narrator isn’t even sure of it herself? This is the beauty of the unreliable narrator because the reader must question how far they can trust Rachel. How much of what she says is delusion? How much do we need to depend on the other POV’s in the narrative to solve the puzzle? And I think that’s one of the great things about this book that is done so well. Everything is so tightly plotted that you may guess the killer half way/three quarters of the way through the book but you’ll still feel surprised and anxious to see how everything hits the proverbial fan right at the end.

 

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?

 

I didn’t really have any pet peeves with this book apart from Anna Watson’s existence annoying the living hell out of me but what’s a book without one super irritating character?

 

All in all, I highly recommend everyone pick up this book (even if you end up only ever getting through 100 pages).

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