Girl on the Train, The

Paula Hawkins
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? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2021-07-22
4
Reviewed: 2021-07-05
Quick paced writing, liked the change of narrators, good twist ending, could feel a palpable threat -- unsettling. Definitely reminded me of Gone Girl, but it was nice to actually like the characters once everything settled out.
Reviewed: 2021-06-23
Great Novel,
The suspense is set well ,and has good highpoints.
The characters are well written,the non linear narration has really worked great.
Explaining the whole plot from the eyes of three women is great idea and worked well.
Reviewed: 2019-02-06
This review may contain a few minor spoilers.

Eeehm... It just wasn't what I expected it to be. The blurb gave me a hitchcock - rear window feeling and I was ready to start the next big mystery thriller book.

However, what I got was nothing like it. The story is filled with miserable people doing even more miserable things.

Rachel takes the train every day and watches the houses she passes. When the woman of her 'favorite couple', Megan, goes missing, she goes to the police with some information only she has.

It sounded interesting enough, but Rachel is not a great MC. She's an alcoholic and I didn't hugely enjoy being in her head.
The story is told from the first person and you follow the perspectives of 3 women, Rachel, Megan and Anna (The new wife of Rachels ex husband Tom). On top of that, you only get bits of the story in the morning and the evening. Also, the timelines of characters aren't always aligned.

I won't give away anything else of the story, since that's really the only reason to finish the book. I will say that nothing really happened up until about the last 15% of the book and then everything happened really fast and.. not really logical when you take in what you know about all the relationships in this book. The 'shocking' thing she witnesses isn't really shocking at all and I thought it was pretty obvious who the killer was.

All in All, I didn't love all the endless misery, the non-action, I didn't like the way the action that was there was done, I wasn't suprised and there were no likeable characters. I think I'm going to keep this one at 2 stars.

-------
Edit 2018: I keep thinking back to this book and how much I hated it. I think I'm changing the rating to 1 star. I normally never do that. But this still remains one of the worst books I've read and I just don't feel it deserves the 2 stars compared to some other 2 star reads.
Reviewed: 2018-12-26
This was a pretty intense book.
The protagonist is hard to like and, for me, hard to sympathize with. I am queen of escapism but self destruction is hard for me to understand. There were aspects of her (unable to let go and lost at being alone after she had decided on her future life) that I very much understood. Even with that, I didn't like her.
The story itself is fairly fast. The plot rolls along and the only introspective moments reveal more of what happened so they are ok. I had some trouble putting the book down once it got rolling, so beware!
Reviewed: 2016-01-16
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?
Reviewed: 2015-11-28
Man, I hated these characters. The only characters I hated more were the ones in Gone Girl. What a frustrating story!

Rachel. She's a mess. She is a mess, and needs serious therapy. She is a liar, and an alcoholic, and a terrible, terrible roommate. I. Do. Not. Like. Her. Everything bad that happens to her is basically her fault. When the main character is so awful I have a hard time caring what might happen to them.

And the other characters? They are just as bad. It was like a train wreck reading about their messed up lives. I can muster not an ounce of pity for any of them. Simply atrocious behavior that ruined everything about the mystery for me.
Reviewed: 2015-09-30
The central conceit of the mystery--that it was observed by an alcoholic in a black out state and as such is unreliable--is nicely done most of the time though it's a bit of an obvious mystery as to who done it, despite the red herrings.

As such, I don't know if the mystery is the central point or the narrator's slow climb toward realization. Nothing comes very much as a shock or a surprise in the story, and Rachel's unreliable alcoholic lapses might frustrate some readers.
Reviewed: 2015-02-16

This is Hawkin's first novel and has some pretty fancy billing on the covers: "compulsively readable", "emotionally immersive" and "hitchcockian"; this was silly as there is nowhere to go but down.

In reality, this is a great tale, and I did find it compelling but not immersive nor Hitchcockian. The character description and evolution is excellent; the twists were interesting and the end not too predictable.

As a life long train commuter, i totally empathize with the premise of "Jason and Jess", and i thought the portrayls of the police were more accurate in my mind than so many crme thrillers portray.

I would recommend this book strongly.

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