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