Book Review | The Girl on the Train

Hey!  I actually read a NYT Bestseller while it’s still on the list!  I’m usually late to the party.  I finished Gone Girl a few weeks ago (see what I mean about being late to the party), and had been hearing a lot about how The Girl on the Train is similar, so I went out and picked me up a copy.

22557272The Girl on the Train centers around an alcoholic young woman, Rachel, and her train ride into the city every day.  The train travels directly behind the house she used to share with her ex-husband (and he now shares with his new wife and baby daughter).  A few doors down from them, Rachel frequently sees an attractive young couple.  During her train rides, she makes up stories to fill in the blanks about them in her mind, calling them Jess and Jason, and becomes attached to the couple.  One day, she sees something shocking having to do with the couple, and is unable to keep away from the neighborhood.

She finds herself unavoidably drawn to the street she’s avoided for so long, but her alcohol-induced blackouts keep her from remembering the whole story.  Rachel is the modern antihero – she’s miserable, unreliable, and often behaves quite stupidly.  The exact opposite of Gone Girl‘s Amy.  But it’s because of Rachel’s ill-advised actions that the story comes to a head.

Told from the points of view of Rachel, her ex-husband’s new wife Anna, and the mysterious and missing Megan, The Girl on the Train is a story about an interesting and complex group of people and how their lives intwined.  While I didn’t love the novel, I will say this for Hawkins: she certainly knows how to create dynamic characters.  And the twist was pretty unexpected (and I’m really good at guessing plot twists).

I really did enjoy this book.  The story was deceptively simple, and there weren’t any unnecessary characters.  I also really liked that Hawkins chose a protagonist who is far from perfect and pretty down on her luck.  The book seemed more real than fantastical, which is where I think the attraction lies.  It’s a mystery involving characters you can relate to or feel that you know.  Overall, I’d give it three and a half out of five stars.  Not my favorite book of all time, but a really unique, interesting story.

Rating: ★★★✩✩

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