Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Psychological Thriller
First Publication: 2015
Major Characters: Rachel Watson, Megan Hipwell, Anna Watson, Scott Hipwell, Kamal Abdic, Tom Watson
Setting Place: London, England
Theme: Drugs and Alcohol, Memory and the Past, Guilt and Blame, Versions of Reality
Narration: First Person (Rachel, Anna, and Megan Point of view)
Book Summary: The Girl On The Train
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them.
Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed.
Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…
Book Review: The Girl On The Train
If you want to read a gripping mystery/psychological thriller that will blow your mind, this is the book for you. Well written with a very well done plot, “The Girl on the Train” is told from multiple (three) POVs. I love a dual POV and I also love a multiple POV if it’s well done and necessary. And here it really was. I liked to be in these characters’ minds.
In my opinion the author did a really great job with the three character’s voices. All three of them felt unique and like me you will experience so, so many feelings reading their story. While they were interesting, I can’t say I liked any of them. But it was ok. I don’t expect to like all the characters I read about and here the reader is not meant to like them. All of them are flawed, all of them have insecurities and fears and because of that all of them felt real and in some way even relatable.
One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl… Three for a girl.
I found ‘The Girl on the Train’ to be a quintessential psychological thriller. By that I mean the vast majority of the story is told from the minds of 3 characters. This was risky business as at least 2 of them, Megan and Anna, are unlikable. Many probably dislike the third character, Rachel, who is the main protagonist, as well. The author Paula Hawkins made it work, however, as she did a terrific job with character development. By understanding why they did what they did, I found I was able to overlook the basic unsavoriness of these 3 women and connect with them all.
Hollowness: that I understand. I’m starting to believe that there isn’t anything you can do to fix it. That’s what I’ve taken from the therapy sessions: the holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps.
Another thing I really liked was the edginess of the read. From early on the atmosphere was eerily foreboding. You just knew something bad was going to happen, but you didn’t know what and you didn’t know when. The author took her time with the story, slowly building up the tension, giving the reader bits and pieces of info along the way. Some readers may feel impatient with this, but I loved the mood and the slower pace.
The protagonist was on the train A LOT. This could be off putting to some, but to me, the train was simply another character and I liked the “flavor” it brought to the story.
There are familiar faces on these trains, people I see every week, going to and fro. I recognize them and they probably recognize me. I don’t know whether they see me, though, for what I really am.
One feature I wasn’t terribly fond of was the switching back and forth of time frames. Initially, this was confusing to me, but once I started to really pay attention to the chapter headings, I could better follow it.
If you’re a fan of dark books with flawed characters, I suggest giving this a go. But don’t bring your high expectations with you, because high expectations might ruin this book for you.