Monday, May 4, 2015
*Book Review* The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
Released: January 13, 2015
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller
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
After reading many, many, many reviews before requesting The Girl on the Train from my library, I finally found the time to read the story this past weekend. Let me say that I am doing my hardest NOT to spoil anything for you, and it's taken a bit of time to put my thoughts to paper. If you find something that you believe is a spoiler, let me know. I'll happily remove it.
Sold as "a compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl," The Girl on the Train is a psychological story that is about as twisted as you can get. Rachel Watson is a down and out woman who takes the same commuter train to and from work every morning to keep from having to tell her flatmate that she's lost her job. She's already lost her marriage because of her depression and alcohol use. She can't afford to lose much more. Rachel has quite the imagination.
She looks out her window on the train and catches a couple she calls Jess and Jason on their porch. She imagines that they have the perfect life until one day Rachel catches Jess kissing someone who is not Jason. The girl in question, Jess, is actually Megan Hipwell, and she has her own issues that are almost as deep and depraved as Rachel's. Megan's so called perfect life, has been built upon lie after lie, and the more the lies are exposed, the less likable Megan becomes. But, when Megan goes missing the next day, Rachel bumbles and stumbles her way into a police investigation that puts her own life in jeopardy.
The third female character is Anna Watson. Anna is the new wife and ex-mistress to Tom Watson while he was married to Rachel. Anna is a character I never once warmed up to. First because she was part of the intent to ruin Rachel's marriage and life. Second because she is living in Rachel's home, sleeping in Rachel's bed, and has a child that Rachel longed to have while married to Tom. Then, instead of trying to understand Rachel's depressed state and maybe try to help her, she piles on the misery.
I haven't read Gone Girl so I won't be able to do any sort of comparisons between the two books. I am sure you will have no problems with finding the comparison on Goodreads, or Amazon. To quote, sometimes you are paranoid, until there really is something to be paranoid about. Rachel's paranoia and her desire to drink away her life's problems, are really not that hard to understand. Once Rachel starts digging into Megan's disappearance however, her own distorted memories start to become much clearer.
The Girl on the Train is a story that will make you think a whole lot about what you would do if you were in Rachel's shoes. Is Rachel really seeing what's she's seeing? Was Rachel's memories twisted into believing what others wanted her to believe, or see? What really happened to Megan, and why couldn't she take ONE minute and explain to her husband what was happening? I think the most important idea to come out of reading this story is that you just never really know the people you think you know. You shouldn't judge anyone until you really get to know them from the inside out.