Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Girl on the Train: book review


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The girl on the train is named Rachel. Rachel goes back and forth on the commuter train daily.

My head leaning against the carriage window, I watch these houses roll past me like a tracking shot in a film. Twice a day, I am offered a view into other lives, just for a moment.

Rachel enjoys people watching, making up stories about them, we have all done that, right? The train stops at a signal alongside a row of houses. In one of the houses lives her ex-husband and his new family, and watching this house daily is very depressing. The last house in the row belongs to Jess and Jason (Rachel's made-up names for them). Jess and Jason are very happily married and Rachel looks forward to seeing them out on their back patio every evening. Wait, who is that other man and why is he kissing Jess? Why is there a picture of Jess on the front page of the newspaper listed as missing? Why is there a pile of clothes beside the tracks?

Rachel can't stand the suspense, so she gets off the train at the stop nearest the house she has been watching and proceeds to involve herself into the lives of the people on that street. A lonely divorced alcoholic, she just wants to be a part of something. But she gets more than she bargained for.

This is a mystery, a Who Done It and What Did They Do… the lives of the people in the small suburban community who live by the train tracks are intertwined, and all connected to Rachel, the girl on the train. 

This story is told in first person by three of the characters. Each chapter identifies who is talking, the date, and time of day (Rachel, Friday July 5, 2013, morning). Which should make it easy to follow. It jumps back and forth in time, up to a year, and there are a lot of flashbacks. The flashbacks help to fill in the story, but I had some difficulty following the timeline.

The story has some twists and turns but mostly drags on too long, and finally climaxes with the bad guy/girl getting what they deserve.

Other than being a mystery, it does not come near to being like Hitchcock, as touted in some reviews. But of course that comparison is why I read it, so the pitch worked. 

Sorry, no Gone Girl, no Hitchcock. Maybe if these comparisons were not advertised, it would have been a better story, without so much hype to live up to.

1 comment:

Lainee said...

I added gone Girl and this book to my audio book wish list.