I’m pretty positive that this will be the most delayed book review of all time.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is one of those novels that everyone and their distant cousin ended up reading. As a lover of the suspense/thriller genre, people are shocked when they find out I have not read this book. I initially purchased it when it first was released and then never got around to reading it. Obviously, with the movie release looming, I figured it was now or never.
It has been consistently compared to Gone Girl since it’s release. I actually found this novel to be faster paced and a little more intricate than Gone Girl. I am sorry I didn’t read the book earlier. I now am able to understand what the fuss has been all about.
For starters, it is no secret to followers of this blog that I love me some multi-perspective narration. This novel has three narrators, all women. This I loved. Each woman had a unique perspective. I loved Rachel as the fallacious narrator. Hawkins was brilliant with her character development. The addition of the addiction issue provided us with a narrator so unreliable that I felt suspicious of her the entire time. I felt uneasy the entire time I was reading.
The initial plot was simple; Rachel, newly divorced with a drinking problem, tries to get close to her ex-husband and his new family when a tragedy strikes in their neighbourhood and she ends up sucked in. However, the characters and their relationships are what truly drove this novel. They are so completely complex and dysfunctional. From Meghan’s husband, Scott to the therapist, each character becomes more intricate than the last. This truly takes the reader on a wild ride; no one can be trusted in this novel and with each chapter, my opinion drastically changed about what was going on and who was the antagonist. By the end, characters and their storylines are so tightly weaved together, it creates a roller-coaster of a thriller.
I also loved the idea of incorporating “the train” element to the plot. Naturally, people absently daydream on their commute but the idea of what happens when that goes too far was really interesting.
I didn’t find the novel too dark or too complex for readers who are not avid fans of the suspense or thriller novel. If you are resisting this book because of the hype, I urge you to give in. You’ll be glad you did!