Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication Date: January 2015
EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. 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 goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
MY THOUGHTS (w/a few spoilers):
The Girl on the Train is a page turner from the beginning. While this is Paula Hawkins's first time writing a thriller she did a great job keeping the reader engaged throughout the whole story. Hawkins's uses the voices of three characters to tell the story - Rachel Watson, Megan Hipwell and Anna Boyd. Each character tells their story in relation to Megan's disappearance.
Rachel Watson is the sad, depressed, drunk heroine who's life has been turned upside down by her divorce to her now ex-husband Tom. In order to dull the hurt and anger caused by her ex-husband Tom and his new wife Anna Boyd, Rachel has turned to drinking. One day while on her way to work she believes she may have seen the person who is responsible for Megan Hipwell's death. Due to having a fantasy about Megan's life Rachel feels compelled to involve herself in the investigation because she's convinced herself she can help solve the case. This is also a way for her to have a purpose in her life. However, Tom and Anna discredited Rachel to the police by painting her as a stalker and harasser. In the meantime Rachel is haunted by a memory of the night Megan disappeared but due to being in a drunk she can't put the pieces together. Amid Rachel's storyline we also hear from Megan and how unhappy she is with her life. Even though she is happy with her husband she has a secret that she has hidden from him and tries to deal with it herself. Oftentimes unsuccessfully. Meghan comes across a lost individual. Throughout the book Anna has deep contempt for Rachel. As she divulges her reasons for the threat she believes Rachel poses to her and her family it's also hard to find a lot of sympathy for her character.
As I read The Girl on the Train, I couldn't help but feel sad and embarrassed for Rachel. Her life consisted of trying to lie not only to herself but to everyone around her and prove she had not fallen apart. Slowly Rachel divulges what her life has been like for the past few years after her divorce. She'd lost everything. Through Megan's disappearance Rachel felt she could make things better. She would not only help bring the murderer to light but also help pull herself together. She would be a hero. Unfortunately, Rachel didn't take into account by trying to help Megan she would also uncover some parts of her past she also hid from herself. Meghan came across as someone who was very unsure of herself and always trying to please someone. She was very unhappy. She would try to find happiness in all the wrong places and unfortunately it came back to bite her. Anna was my least favorite character. She failed to take any responsibility in causing Rachel's relationship to end. It was at the end that she redeemed herself.
My only one very small complaint about the book is that Hawkins didn't make Rachel's sobriety believable to me. From what I understood Rachel had been drinking for quite some time and I didn't see Rachel struggling to quit. Maybe Rachel's need to help in the investigation overcame her need to drink. I guess it can happen.
Overall: I really liked the book. It was well written and kept me engaged throughout the whole thing. I wanted to know who the killer was and was surprised when it was revealed. I read and did the audiobook too (gave me an opportunity to knit). I enjoyed both mediums. I have not seen the movie but I plan to.
What did you think of the book? Did you think all the character's were believable? Do you think Hawkins did a good job unveiling what happened to Meghan? Did you feel for any of the characters? If so, why or why not?
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