Book and Movie Reviews

Book Review: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins


I have to admit, and many will disagree, but I liked this book more than Gillian Flynn’s popular book, Gone Girl.  Gone Girl is witty and suspenseful, lots of twists and turns. However, I found myself drawn to the characters Paula Hawkins created in her killer debut novel. With a haunting and mysterious prologue, the author whispers you into the story.

The story takes place in London and the  girl on the train is Rachel. A divorced alcoholic, so lonely and depressed that she gets pleasure riding the train to and from London, everyday. Her roommate believes she goes off to work when she leaves the house, unaware Rachel has been fired. Rachel finds comfort in the lives of others, those she sees outside the window of the train. Unfortunately, the train she rides passes by the house she and her ex-husband ,Tom, once shared. The house that Tom now shares with his new wife, Anna and they have a child together. To avoid focusing on her ex and his new family, Rachel turns her attention to another couple near by. A  young couple who appear seemingly happy from afar, Rachel envies their life together. The man, always dotting over his pretty Mrs. She even gives them names and creates a narration for them,  (I thought this was clever). Rachel finds solace in this couple, living vicariously through them, while secretly longing still for the arms of her ex.

One day, Rachel’s fantasy world is shattered. She learns the happy couple isn’t so happy after all. And she sees something shocking on the couple’s terrace. Soon after, the wife disappears and Rachel is convinced its connected to what she witnessed while riding the train past their house. Unfortunately, Rachel’s alcohol binges leaves her with debilitating blackouts and she is an untrustworthy witness; not only to herself, but to the authorities investigating the case.

Paula Hawkins does an excellent and uncomplicated job at weaving the other characters into the story. Anna, Tom’s new wife who was happy being the mistress is now distrustful and even fearful of an unsteady Rachel.  And Meagan and Scott the happy couple Rachel rubbernecked and envied from afar. What exactly happened to Meagan?

This psychological thriller had me going back to read  parts I thought held  a clue to  Meagan’s disappearance. The author does a wonderful job at intertwining  the characters together with their secrets. The ending comes together nicely. This is the first book in a long time I read twice. A clever modern look at the term “Gaslight.” Highly recommended.

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