The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hopkins
I’ve not done many book reviews yet…maybe one? And I didn’t write it, I only did a video. So…here’s to my first ever written book review!
I picked up The Girl on the Train this week, and I really really enjoyed it! I’ve heard it referenced to being similar in style to Gone Girl, but then many say it’s not *really* like Gone Girl, it just has the same thriller-aspect/feel as Gone Girl does. I wouldn’t know, I have not yet read Gone Girl to be able to compare. But this book was great, and done really well, with the unreliable narrator perspectives!
This book is about a woman named Rachel, who is a divorcee, depressed and an alcoholic. She has lost her job, and is trying to hide the fact that her life is in shambles and falling apart. She is our primary narrator. She continues to ride the train into town each week day, in her attempt to hide all of this, pretty unsuccessfully, from her friend and flat mate, Cathy. So every day she rides this train, and watches out the window…and peers into the houses outside the train at a routine stop. One house, which, we find out, used to be hers, in which her ex-husband still lives with his new wife. She also routinely scopes another house along the same street, watching the couple and their activities, from what she can see from the train, and creates a world in her mind, about their life.
Anna is the second narrator, and second wife to Rachel’s ex-husband, Tom. She is the mother of her and Tom’s small daughter, and lives with him in the house of his ex-wife, despite her dread and hatred of it. She lives a quiet and lonely life, thanks to staying home to raise their baby girl, except for the routinely, and obsessively compulsive annoyances of Tom’s ex-wife, who seems to not understand that Tom has moved on. She is frustrated, angry, and fearful of Rachel, because of many, multiple, drunken, midnight phone calls, texts, and unwanted visits.
Megan is the wife of the couple down the street. She’s not overly content in her life, at this point in time. Her art gallery has folded and she’s stuck at home more often than she cares for. She loves her husband, Scott, but due to her discontent and trying to fill empty spaces inside, we gather that she is having an affair. She really has no connection to any of the other characters, more than Rachel’s day dreams concocted on her daily train rides, by what she can see from outside the house. But then, she goes missing…and weeks later, her body turns up along the tracks.
Rachel rides the trains each day, awaiting the moment the train stops and she can peer into Megan and Scott’s life, while trying to avoid seeing what may be happening in the home of Anna and Scott. She makes up characteristics and lives she believes Megan and Scott would lead, only gleaned by what she can see from the train. But one day, she sees something happen…something that shouldn’t have happened. And despite her better judgement, she tries to help her husband figure out what happened to her. But what she doesn’t tell anyone, is that she was there that night…that night that Megan disappeared. She remembers her…but it’s all in a haze of drunken blackness, never to be understood. She really wants to figure out her memories, but is scared it may be something that she does not want to remember.
This book is a psychological thriller, and has an unreliable narrator, and also flips back and forth in time a bit, from before Megan’s disappearance, to after her disappearance, until they both match up, in the middle…what actually happens, with everyone else figuring out what happened, afterwards. The flipping back and forth in time can be slightly confusing, but overall is done really well. I really enjoyed this book. The mystery was not easily solved in my mind, before it was revealed.
I rated this book 4.5 stars on Goodreads!