Monday, 19 September 2016

Book Review: The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl On The Train

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Doubleday, imprint of Transworld Publishers
First published: 2015
Edition: Hardback. A totally gorgeous one with foil and red-edged pages
Pages: 318

Blurb:     Every day the same.
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.
               Until today.
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…

History of my copy: I was lucky to pick up this edition of the book for only £2 at a car boot sale in fantastic condition. It had been on my TBR for a while so I was only too happy to discover the bargain!

The Girl On The Train is a very popular book and thus had been on my TBR list since it was released. I’m so glad to have finally read it!

Plot: We follow Rachel, an unemployed alcoholic who catches the train to work and back every day to imitate that she is still going to work. From the train, she watches Jess, who we later discover is actually called Megan. When Megan goes missing, Rachel feels obliged to inform the police about Megan’s lover. As the mystery unfolds, so does Rachel’s major issues, along with her coming to terms with her ex leaving her for Anna, the other lead female in the story.
         It’s a cleverly woven together plot, with an ending that I really didn’t see coming!

Setting: The one thing this book lacks is descriptive setting however, due to the type of book it is, it doesn’t matter. It is certainly sufficient to convey what is happening where, and develops the mystery of the story. However, as someone who hasn’t really visited London, I do think I may have benefited from a little more to picture.

Characters: The main character in The Girl On The Train is Rachel, a character who I believe is fantastically well written. As I’ve never known anyone like her, I don’t know if her portrayal is accurate for someone in her position, but it certainly felt entirely realistic. I loved her as a character. Alcoholism is an illness that, in my experience of reading, is rarely acknowledged, but Hawkins has done so in a way that still portrays Rachel as relatable, even though she has nothing in common with me.
               On the flip side of that, I hated Anna. As a character, she was well-rounded and developed, but gosh as a person she is the worst. Not only does she date someone’s husband and not even feel bad about it (in fact, she frequently goes on about how she is better than Rachel), but she defends her complete a**hole of a husband and jut refuses to acknowledge Rachel’s true claims, or at least be supportive of what she was going through! So many times I just wanted to tell Anna to get a grip and sort her priorities out.
               Megan was another great character, and I really loved the way in which Hawkins identified her and Scott as this idyllic relationship, when really there was so much more to it, showing that even things that look perfect often aren’t.
               Without ruining the story, I’m just going to mention that the whole conclusion to the mystery, and who the killer actually was, was done fantastically and totally surprised me. In fact, I initially loved who it was, right up until we found out! Fantastic character building again.

To read or not to read: Read. The Girl On The Train may not be my usual kind of book, but it certainly does live up to the hype. The format takes a little to get used to, and the whole premise may sound a little odd at first, but I really recommend this book.

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