Paula Hawkins's The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train: A Novel - Paula Hawkins

The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives.

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?
[ synopsis from goodreads ]




This started out as a good idea. I'll give it that right upfront. It was an intriguing notion. A girl notices a couple as she rides the train each day. She notices the girl has gone missing. She thinks the guy might have killed her. In theory, that sounds great. It sounds like it has the potential to be a great story. Except that wasn't really what this book was about.

It was almost like this book didn't really know which story it was trying to tell. It started out being about a missing girl. But then it completely takes the focal point from that character and shifts it to two characters who are almost completely useless to the story we're supposed to be reading. That's when this story becomes less about a mystery and more about a drinking problem and bad marriages.

In my opinion, if this was going to be a mystery, Rachel definitely didn't need to be the main character. She needed to be a side character who was helping with the investigation and who was probably pushed to the side a lot by investigators because who is going to believe a girl who just happened to notice some not very useful evidence from a train?

But this story was about none of that. Instead it was about Rachel and her drinking problem and her broken marriage. And her horrible ex husband and his COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY USELESS new wife. (Honestly, if there's any character who DID NOT NEED TO BE IN THIS BOOK it's 10000% Anna. All she did was whine and complain about EVERYTHING but especially about how she was dEFINITELY PRETTIER THAN RACHEL. If you believe your only contribution to society is being prettier than other women then congratulations. You have just set feminism back 100 years.)

Anyway, what was I saying? I can't even give you a clear indication of what happened in this book and what it was about? It was honestly the most slow moving book. I came here to read a mystery. I came here to be thrilled. I didn't come here to sit through Rachel trying to work out her drinking problems and get her life back on track. That's drama for another story. In fact, that's another story entirely.

And that ending? I called that almost from the beginning. As soon as we learned Anna's relationship with Tom. Because, honey, if he cheats with you he will cheat on you. Which is exactly the moment when I decided he was having an affair with Megan. That's like 50 pages into the book and I'd already accepted it as fact. How was that supposed to shock me later?

So, honestly, I think this book had a lot of potential. But I think it left a lot of it by the wayside. This was, arguably, Megan's story. But she ended up taking a backseat to most of her own story. The bits with her were by far the best of the book (which is the only reason why this book garnered two stars instead of just one). I didn't really agree with her choices or particularly like her as a person. But as a character she was wonderful. And I wish she would've been leading this party. I would've found this book a lot more interesting.

I honestly wish this would've been set up more as a ghost story. Maybe even told from beyond the grave. This book definitely had elements of that already what with the clothes mentioned at the beginning which Rachel saw every day from the train. It could've been about Megan watching the train pass every day and seeing Rachel on it. Maybe that would've been the interesting twist this story needed.


review originally posted on goodreads