Books Magazine

Review–The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

By Megan Love Literature Art & Reason @meganm922
The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
 Summary: 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.

Source: I purchased a hardcover.
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The Girl on the Train has a lot of hype and is frequently lumped with Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, as if all of us readers are constantly searching for the next similar book.. a suspense that isn’t quite a crime drama and run of the mill mystery… for good reason. The Girl on the Train deserves every bit of that hype and is lumped accordingly with Gone Girl because it’s similar, it gives readers the twist and fucked-up-ness that we are so desperately searching for after experiencing Gillian Flynn’s books.
I loved The Girl on the Train. It was twisted, confusing, and messed up. I expected an outsider to notice the couple on the deck from the train, but I never expected her life to intertwine with theirs the way that it did. I never expected Rachel to have such problems, either.
I enjoyed every bit of the new and unexpected details that came flooding in when I began the book. My favorite part about the novel is kind of why some people dislike it (and Gillian Flynn’s books as well). There are no likeable characters. As much as you want to sympathize with Rachel, you can’t. You dislike everyone, including the couple on their deck. Everyone is terrible, selfish, and full of twists, secrets, and issues. But I love that because it’s so rare in fiction and it’s so common in real life. Why should there be a hero? Why can’t characters have issues that make them unlikable? Why should that impact my ability to enjoy the story? I’ll never understand readers who always want likeable people and likeable events in their books. I think it’s interesting to get a glimpse of people and their situations and not be moved to sympathize with them.

The Girl on the Train has a synopsis that works and is spot on, but just goes to show you that not everything is what it seems. It was great and I’m glad I read it. It deserves the hype, but I think a lot of readers will dislike it because it features such unlikable characters and it is much more predictable. After all, we were looking for a Gone Girl twist and I think it’s easier to find one when you are looking for it. I highly recommend the book, but if you’re reading it just because it’s what people are talking about, I suggest waiting until the mood truly strikes you so that it isn’t a chore and so that it doesn’t fall short of your expectations.

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