Book Review: The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

Girl on the Train - Paula HawkinsTitle: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
ISBN: 9781594633669
Pages: 336
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Rachel is a pretty big mess. She doesn’t have a job anymore because of her drinking, but she still takes the train into London every morning because she doesn’t want to admit this to her roommate. On the trip, she passes by a row of homes, and she’s begun to imagine she knows the inhabitants of one particular home—a “perfect” couple she nicknames Jess and Jason. But when Rachel wakes up bruised and broken with little memory of the previous night, she begins to wonder whether what she experienced is connected to something fateful that has happened to this perfect couple.

Review:

The Girl on the Train seems to be the book everyone is talking about. They’re calling it the new Gone Girl and it’s been getting so much hype. So, the question is, does it live up to what everyone is saying about it?? It’s a thrilling, entertaining, compulsive novel, and while I don’t like the Gone Girl comparison (simply because I feel that creates unrealistic expectations), I found this book well-written and fascinating.

Rachel is not a likable character in The Girl on the Train. If you need your characters to be sympathetic and likeable, well, keep on moving. This is not a book for you. Rachel is a complete and utter mess. She’s an alcoholic, she’s dealing with the emotional situation of a failed marriage, a failed career, and perhaps a failed housing situation, and she doesn’t know what to do anymore. The one constant she has in her life is this couple, Jess and Jason.

Rachel’s obsession with this couple and the situation surrounding them in The Girl on the Train is more than a little creepy. If you take a step back and think about where she’s coming from, it’s understandable, but it’s not healthy at all. This is one of those novels where you’ll find yourself wanting to reach through the pages and physically restrain Rachel from doing what you know is coming. It’s great, because she’s infuriating and pathetic and makes horribly bad decisions, but the reader is completely and utterly invested in her story. It’s a fine line to walk and Hawkins does it very very well.

So, if you enjoy psychological thrillers, then Girl on the Train should absolutely be on your list. It’s a book people will probably be talking about for awhile, and for good reason. It’s compelling and compulsive, and even when you hate everything that’s happening, you just won’t be able to put it down.

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Comments

  1. I had very mixed feelings while I was reading this book. Wanted to shake Rachel hard. However, I’m now liking it more. And, no, I don’t like the whole GONE GIRL comparisons. I know publishers want to give readers a frame of reference, but I think that this sets up unreasonable expectations and also may keep some people away. Glad it worked for you.

  2. Great review. Mine goes live tomorrow. I had a hard time getting past the unlikable characters. But, you are right, I am talking about it, which I guess makes it a good book.

  3. You are exactly right about wanting to stop Rachel from going through with her bad decisions. I really liked this story, and the experience of reading about more than one unlikeable character was an interesting one for me.

  4. I think I may enjoy not liking her….

  5. Awesome review! I also really enjoyed this one, and your analysis of Rachel is great. I know a lot of people have given mixed or negative reviews because she isn’t likable, but I enjoyed how human she is. She’s flawed and clearly wrecked, but she’s very human. And her struggles made for some very interesting plot twists.

  6. I need to read this book soon. I’ve read so many great reviews of it.

Trackbacks

  1. […] of S. Krishna’s Books, like Sam, noted the comparison that’s been made between The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl. […]

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