The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


January 23, 2017 by femvestige


“I’d rather be here, looking out at the houses beside the track, than almost anywhere else.”

Everyone told me I needed to read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. It was because everyone told me I needed to that I waited so long to read it. It was the new hype. The new Gone Girl (written by Gillian Flynn). I did not want to jump on this train yet. I’m a comfort reader – I read what I’ve read before and when I take a risk and like it, I read it again… and again… and again. Taking that risk though, I have to be in the right mindset. I have a lot of anxiety while I drive, so I listen to audiobooks mostly to take my mind of the real fear of driving. I also live in a rural state where I drive 60-70% of the time. Therefore, I get to ‘read’ a lot. I finally decided to read this book because the hype had finally ceased. It didn’t feel hot.

I started listening to it on the drive home – 35 minutes without traffic. I wasn’t immediately drawn in. A woman named Rachel sits on a train and begins rambling about a pile of clothing on the track that makes her nervous over imaginative brain think the worst. Then she gets drunk. It sets the tone for a very sad and pathetic woman. It’s not until I listen to her talk about ‘Jess and Jason,’ a couple she observed from the train and has fantasized and made up names for, that my interest is piqued. She still makes references to her ex-husband Tom, wife Anna, and child Evie – I am irrationally annoyed when she does this. My mother raised me to be independent of men, and though I am immensely in love with my life partner and man – I would like to think I wouldn’t become an unemployed over fantasizing drunk if he ever left me. My interest is piqued as I learn more about this couple she observes – and then my interest becomes invested when the perspective changes from Rachel to Megan (aka Jess).

Since I was listening to this audiobook, I realized that I had difficulty following the timelines because I couldn’t see them. When I got home, I promptly purchased the ebook, so I could listen and read. I still found flaws in the timeline, but it made more sense to me to see it in print.

As the novel continues, the plot moves back and forth between present-day Rachel in 2013 trying to solve the case of missing person Megan, her trials and errors with her sobriety, and her navigating how to be a functioning single divorcee – to a year past Megan in 2012 exploring control through infidelity, and trying to cope with past trauma with new therapist/lover.

When the pieces finally come together, and the plot climaxes – I find that I’m not really satisfied. The twist was unexpected, and yet I just didn’t find a single character likeable. I finished the book, and didn’t think ‘wow, I need to read that again. It’s incredible.’ I wasn’t moved. I still felt sad. It felt like this book was specifically written to be made into a large motion picture – which it was.

This being said, I give The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins:

Rating out of 5: ✮✮✮✮
Character Development: C
Best Feature: Changing Perspective/Timeline


One thought on “The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

  1. […] she is given opportunity after opportunity. Her amnesia post-accident felt way too reminiscent of The Girl on the Train – but also too specific. The use of amnesia as a plot device did nothing for this novel but […]


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