Monday, July 6, 2015

The Girl on the Train (Review by AmberBug)

The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins
3 / 5

Published 2015

First Sentence
"She's buried beneath a silver birch tree, down towards the old train tracks, her grave marked with a cairn."

Publisher's Description:

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

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. 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 offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone GirlThe Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.

Dear Reader,

Before you get all involved with my review, check out what Arianna had to say here.

What can I say? I wasn't that impressed. Arianna clearly nails it dead on when she talks about hype and getting overly excited for a book. Clearly this book could never live up to that, and nor would any... the hype for it was astronomical. With that said, I tried to forget what everyone else has said and told me and read the book for myself. It was a suspensive book that was mainly plot driven. I didn't connect with any of the characters, and all the females blended into one giant blob for me.

I'll start with what I liked about the book. I enjoyed the setting, voyeurism from a train, how scandalous! I loved the obsessive nature the main character had brewing for her ex, that kept building beautifully. I even liked the layer of blackout drinking - a "what did you do last night" that gave her that unreliable narrator title I love so much. I read this super quick and can't deny that it held my interest from start to finish, but...

What the heck was the Author thinking when she wrote all the female characters? She has three women all of weak minds, and there isn't much distinction between them (especially the longer you read). Was this done on purpose? If so, I couldn't think of a reason why. This was even pointed out with a main character, stating how similar all the women are (don't want to say much more) but this was my biggest gripe with this book. All the females ended up having the same voice in my head. Even though the main character had a few distinguishing characteristics, they were all negative, like her blackout drinking and her complete nutcase personality. Yes, she is unreliable and I love that, but it bothered me when I couldn't tell the difference between her and the other two girls - at least the title chapters had the name (which I kept referencing).

Overall, I was pretty disappointed. Once the "big reveal" happened, I started to read a little faster, knowing that the tight wrapped up ending was coming and I kept glancing at the stack of books I was going to read next. It was a little of, "Okay, thanks for the fun little mystery, now I need to finish you and pick out the next one". Don't get me wrong, it was entertaining and a very quick read (I couldn't put it down - as they say). I just require a little more than plot to keep me captivated to the very last word. If I didn't care that much of what happens to the characters in the final showdown, maybe the Author didn't develop them enough for me to feel invested.

Happy Reading,

The Girl on the Train

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