Title: The Girl On The Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Page count: 336 pages
Released: January 13th, 2015
Genre: Adult, Psychological Thriller, Contemporary
Type: Kindle Edition
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?
This is the kind of book that makes you question the people you know, the people you don’t know, and everything in between. It makes you think twice about the couple walking past, the man sat in the window, the woman crossing the street. It makes you look back just one more time.
I completely fell in love with this book. The Girl On The Trainis about Rachel, a late twenties alcoholic, recently unemployed, divorced woman from a dreary little town just outside London. Having been fired from her job for rudely and drunkenly losing a big client, she can’t handle the thought of telling Cathy, the woman who’s letting her live with her, that she lost her job. She continues to get the same 8:04 train to London each morning, pretending to go to work but actually just wandering around London, visiting libraries and parks, then coming back on the 5:57. Each morning she passes the same houses, and she grows a connection with one of them. Jess and Jason, the names she’s made up for two of the occupants – a lovely couple who represent everything she lost with her husband, who happens to live just a few doors down from them.
One morning, on the 8:04 train, she spots something unusual happening with Jess. Rachel is infuriated that Jess could be involved in such a thing. The next day, Jess is reported missing. Rachel finds out that Jess’s name is actually Megan, and Jason’s is Scott. They are far from the perfect couple, the perfect people, that Rachel thought they were. And she had to do something about what she’d seen.
Being a blackout alcoholic, Rachel often finds herself getting the train to her ex-husband Tom’s house, even though he now lives with his horrible wife Anna and their baby, Evie. The night Megan goes missing, Rachel was on their street. She wakes up covered in blood, but the night before is a big black hole in her brain. What was she doing on Blenheim Road? Did she see anything happen to Megan? How did she get home? Why was she covered in blood?
As the story plays out, Rachel starts to doubt her role in Megan’s disappearance. Everybody becomes a suspect, and nobody is safe.
This is definitely one of my favourite books of the year! I don’t often read thrillers, psychological books or even Adult books, so I was wary that I wouldn’t enjoy it much. But the writing was gripping – switching between three perspectives, Rachel’s, Anna’s and Megan’s. It was so difficult to guess what was about to happen; I had no clue who had done what until it was revealed. I really felt that this book explored the complexity of women especially, and the dangers of the world. It was a wonderful ride to be in Rachel’s head especially, as she doubted herself and the world around her, and we slowly saw her get more and more mentally unstable. Anna was refreshingly honest to herself, and Megan was one of the most complex characters I’ve ever read about. When I hated the characters (I won’t say who!) I truly hated them, and when I felt for the others, I really loved them. These characters are so special and every one of them grew so much, in some way or another. I just would have liked it to last a chapter or two longer, to get more closure – which is ironic, since the entire book is about closure!