Review: The Girl on the Train
Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Mystery, psychological thriller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads Summary: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 really don't know what all the hype is about.
This is a good psychological thriller/mystery, but it doesn't stand out to me as amazing. It's not compulsively readable and addicting like Gone Girl, it's not as subtly creepy as Before I Go to Sleep, and the characters aren't as well developed as In the Woods. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this book, but I definitely wasn't blown away.
The titular girl on the train is decidedly unlikeable: Rachel is a compulsive liar and an alcoholic, with memory problems to boot. You spend most of the book watching bad decision after bad decision...she's a terribly unreliable narrator, and you're left to ponder what lies she is telling herself and what lies other people are feeding her. How much of her behavior is unhealthy obsession, and how much does she play the role of concerned citizen? Will helping someone else find their happily-ever-after help Rachel come to terms with the wreck of her own life?
Rachel's not the only deranged character in the novel. I don't want to spoil anything, but I enjoyed the other perspectives because they really hit home how people can appear to be perfectly happy and whole while hiding disturbing secrets.
I would recommend this book, but I would say don't let the hype raise your expectations too high!