Sunday, 15 February 2015

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Book: The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkins

Pages: 336

I read it on: My Kindle

I read it in: 4.5 hours

Plot Summary: Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

What I Liked: Quite a few things! Let's get to it:
  • The premise of this book is really interesting! I don't know about you, but I love me a train journey- I have spent several years commuting to college and Uni on the 'local trains' in Bombay and I loved it! I also enjoy long train journeys. Much like our protagonist, Rachel, I have often wondered about the lives of the people who live in the homes dotting the train tracks! So, that explains why I gravitated towards this book on Amazon. The book does not disappoint. 
  • Rachel is a well crafted character. Hawkins makes you empathise and feel for Rachel and her struggles. Rachel is someone who meanders well-meaning-ly through the book- trying to do the right thing, trying to getting her life back on track and trying to help "Jason" when "Jess" goes missing. 
  • Megan (Rachel's "Jess" of the perfect suburban life) was also an interesting character. The book has chapters from her perspective and you get to see her life and how she is unable to, in spite of her best intentions, cheat on her husband. The chapters from her perspective provide an interesting look into yet another kind of a sham-perfect marriage. Nothing is as it seems in this book and Rachel (and the reader) learn new things about each of the characters as you go along. 
  • The dynamics between Rachel's ex-husband (Tom) and his new wife (Anna) are also well crafted. Anna, as women who are home wreckers tend to be, is terribly insecure and easily rattled whenever Rachel drunk dials Tom. 
  • There is a nice twist about one of the relationships, which makes the book so much more creepy and dark. 

What I Didn't Like: A few things were just too novice-like in this book, not to be held against the author as this is her debut novel, after all! 
  • There were way too many breadcrumbs that pointed to who the real culprit/perpetrator of the crime against Megan was. Way too many! I can't say any more here because spoilers. 
  • The real culprit was way, way too convenient! And such a lazy, lazy, lazy cop out! Very poor closure of an otherwise interesting mystery. Can't say more, don't want to spoil it for you. 
Rating: 3.5/5 
This is not a bad book at all. There are many people (including the publishers) who are comparing it to Gone Girl. However, the version of 'marriage hell' depicted in The Girl on the Train is much more believable and relatable than Gone Girl. Do read this book, I think you will enjoy it. 

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