Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins
3.5 / 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,

Augh, another too-hyped book that I found to be a letdown! I have to stop getting myself so excited for these books! Ninety-nine percent of the time, they don't live up to their accolades. (But at least there are those who do, and they often make up for the others.)

Don't get me wrong - Troy can attest, I couldn't put this book down all weekend, nor could I stop talking about it. But! I felt like the "big reveal" was rather predictable much earlier on, and that the whole rest of the book was kind of...pointless. I didn't need to know that much about how everything wrapped up. I just needed to know the how & the why.

I loved the premise of this book - hearing about it on a webinar last November, I was eager to pick it up, imagining a modern-day Rear Window (one of my favorite Jimmy Stewarts). And it started off with a ton of promise, as the reader got to know Rachel's sad life (and indulge in a little schadenfreude). We could understand the frustration & helplessness she felt (especially those of us who had been through that situation, in one form or another). We sympathized with the situation she found herself in, and could see why she would want to allow herself the escape of becoming a bit too nosy about the life of  another couple ("the perfect couple"). That she didn't know them at all just made it easier for her to invent perfection. So when things go downhill quickly for "Jess & Jason", it makes sense that Rachel feels a connection to them, a responsibility to help out where she can.

I enjoyed how the book flipped between the narration of three women, all of whom were tied together through Rachel. Their unique voices helped shape the story, and seeing things from their perspectives really changed my sympathies and alignments as time went on. I was solidly pro-Rachel the whole book, but felt various amounts of sympathy for the other two.

I think this book is great for those who enjoyed Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep and other similar thrillers; it certainly is engrossing and a great weekend read! I just...wasn't all that won over by it, in the end. Unfortunately!


The Girl on the Train

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