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Sunday, June 26, 2016

49) The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Blurb :


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 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 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?

My Thoughts :

The Girl on the Train isn't the kind of book that I usually read and review around here but it was June's Book Club read and I am sure people will be surprised to know that I actually picked it.  There are no hidden vampires or witches in this one but there is a monster.  Just not the supernatural kind.  It is a book that I have heard a lot about and see all over the place and it fit into one of the book club topics.  So I decided to give it a try.  After all, a long time ago, I used to read this genre all the time.

I don't think you are supposed to really like any of the characters in this book.  Which maybe a little hard on some readers.  It seems there is always someone you are supposed to be rooting for.  However in this story it seems you are only supposed to have some kind of feelings towards the main characters.  I didn't get the impression that the writer really wanted you to choose a side or a favourite. If anything I think she purposely gave them all their different problems and failures to build up the suspense and keep you guessing about what really happened.

The story was very dramatically British.   I am sure some readers will find this affair and alcoholic filled mess extremely over the top.  However it isn't.  Except the murder, this all seemed to be a mix-up of many gossiped about events that anyone living in the UK will have heard about family, friends and friends of friends.  I admit this could have been an episode of Eastenders or Coronation Street but with less glamour.

At first the whole time and character changes really confused me but once I got into the story I found it easy to keep everything on track and understood why the author wrote it that way.  It added a lot of suspense to the story and it was nice to have all the bits and pieces come together slowly and fall into place at the end.  Even the addition of Anna's perspective, so late into the book, was a clever twist and showed how well thought out the story was.

What really struck me is that I have been that woman (or maybe girl) on the train. I remember always looking inside the windows, gardens etc as we went by on the train. I still do it now if I am not too busy reading. I don't think I ever went as far as to make up a story for a particular family or house but I definitely saw things on the side of the tracks and wondered who they belonged to and how they got there. I could understand and relate with Rachel's obsession even if it went to an extreme that was fueled by her problems.

I knew who the murderer was pretty early on. Or at least without the proper evidence I had a very strong feeling I knew who it was. However there were little pieces of the puzzle that I didn't see coming. Meghan's past, Rachel's determination and of course those moments towards the end with Anna.  In fact this was totally not the murder mystery I was expecting.  I really thought the person on the train was going to witness a murder and things would escalate from there.  Maybe no body is found even though she reports it, or she has to hide from the killer....anything but what this turned out to be.  I am not saying I am disappointed at how this actually turned out to be but it was a surprise.

There is a lot more I could say about this book but I fear I would give too much away.  I can only conclude that I enjoyed the book and it had me hooked until the end.  I am really glad I picked the book and finally read it. It also reminded me how much I used to like reading this genre and if I didn't have so much to read already I definitely would be looking for something else similar to read next.

Amberkatze's Book Blog

1 comment:

aparajita said...

I totally do the same when i'm travelling by train ..... i think pretty much everyone does it. Ingenious of the author to think a story on that. I haven't read this book yet. Hopefully it will be soon because your's is the first review i actually read of the book. I've been trying to keep away until i can buy it. The storyline seems really interesting too.

Great Review :)
Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex