Monday, March 2, 2015

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publishing Date: January 13th, 2015
Genre: Adult Thriller, Psychological, Mystery
Pages: 336 pgs
ISBN: 9781594633669
Source: Borrowed from a friend

Summary from Goodreads:
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 Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.

My Review:

I kept seeing this on the shelves at Chapters over the holiday season and I kept picking it up and then putting it back down. I knew I wanted to read it but I was hesitant to get it because so many books are compared to Gone Girl now. I just thought that it would be another one of those books that has a misguided comparison to one of my favourite books. Curiosity got the better of me when my friend Kathy from A Glass of Wine read it and then offered to lend it to me. I'm glad that I got a chance to read this one. It was really quite enjoyable and I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book. It centers around Rachel, an alcoholic, who takes the same train to and from work everyday. This train just so happens to pass by her old neighbourhood which is where her ex-husband and new wife still live. Rachel is the quintessential unreliable narrator. She is not even a functioning alcoholic as she lost her job from drinking. She is not fooling anyone and she often blacks out from drinking too much. While riding the train Rachel believes she sees something happen to the couple a few doors down from her ex-husband's house. The problem is that she isn't quite sure what she saw because she was entirely too intoxicated to even know what occurred. Most of the story is told in Rachel's perspective and I found it to be fascinating. Kudos to Hawkins because I'm not sure I could really attempt to get into the mind of an alcoholic. This may be because it's too close to home for me and thus causes me great frustration. You are piecing together the mystery as the narrator pieces it together and this really worked for me. 
The novel is also narrated by the woman who goes missing as well as Rachel's ex-husband's new wife. None of the characters is entirely likable and usually this doesn't work for me. If I can't like a character then it is difficult to be invested in the storyline. In this case that wasn't a problem. The story is intriguing and you want to know what happened. You can't help but turning the pages well into the wee hours of the morning. This book is slightly less addictive than crack but not by much. I couldn't put it down. 
The only reason this book is not getting a 5 star review is because I figured out who the culprit was. I'm pretty good at figuring things out so if you can keep me guessing til the end then I figure out deserve a 5 star and this book just missed the cut. I'd say it's more of a 4.5 than a 4 but still this book is great. You can believe the hype for this book even though the comparisons aren't quite accurate. The rave is there for a reason. 


  1. Great review. I'll have to pick this one up. I was like you, pick up and put down so many times. LOL