Book Review: The Girl on the Train
Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Random House UK, Transworld Publishers
Source: Advance copy via NetGalley
Release Date: January 15, 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis: Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…
Rachel is a real mess. Gone is the strong, confident working woman – she is now just a shadow of her former self. Her husband has left her for another woman – they now have a baby, a baby Rachel wanted more than anything. Unable to accept the situation, she has now turned to drinking, has become a bad drunk in fact and often has blackouts. to make matters worse she has lost her job and gained weight.
However, she still takes the same train at the same time (as she did when she had a job) still keeping up the illusion of going to work and not letting anyone else find out that she was fired. While on the train, she looks out at the row of houses (one of which had been her own house once) and dreams and spins stories about the people she sees. She looks out for one house in particular and has named its residents Jason and Jess. Watching the husband and wife everyday, she feels their life is perfect. Until one morning she sees something different, something unexpected and she is shocked. Through her drunken, unreliable narration, we find out more…
Rachel is such a flawed character – to the point of being weak. She is drunk most of the time, has lost her job, has an obsessive compulsion to stalk and call her ex-husband and yet you feel sympathetic towards her. She is on the edge of losing herself. As the plot progresses, we learn more about the residents on the track and more about Rachel.
This is an incredible psychological thriller with a lot of suspense and tension. An unlikable protagonist with her unreliable narrative, layered characters and intriguing plot. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great thriller.