Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Girl on the Train; Paula Hawkins

Riverhead - 2014

I read The Girl on the Train during lunch each day over the course of a week or so. It was one of those stories which was somewhat of a "train wreck" itself, yet when lunch was over, I just wished I could have read a few more pages.

Rachel rides the same commuter train to and from work in London each day.  She's somewhat of a mess since her divorce from Tom, and she is still obsessed with him, his new life with wife Anna, and their daughter Evie. Rachel also has a drinking problem which she tries to hide from her roommate, but she manages to drink on the train to and from work and pretty much any other time she has the urge. Even after she is fired from her job after a drunken outburst, she continues drink and to ride the train to keep up her routine.

One day Rachel notices a couple who lives in a house which abuts one of the commuter stops. Each day she looks for them, and wonders what their life is like. She sees them having coffee on their patio, another day embracing, and one day they appear to be arguing. Each day the highlight of the train ride is looking for the couple who she has even named -- Jason and Jess.  At the same time she looks for the couple, she tries to avoid looking a few houses down where here ex-husband Tom lives with his new family.  When Rachel reads that the girl shes seen many times, whose real name is Megan, is missing, she thinks she may recall something she's seen that might be significant.  Unfortunately, Rachel is not a credible witness, especially since she was heavily intoxicated when she "might" have seen something.  Just how far will Rachel take things playing amateur detective to find out what happened to Megan, before she places herself at risk?

The story is told in alternating chapters by three women whose lives become entwined: Rachel, Megan and Anna.  The characters are all unlikeable, yet well drawn and interesting to read about, and for me this psych thriller was less about solving the mystery and more about the characters.  It's one of those stories that reinforces how little we really know about others based on outward appearance.  Overall a very good debut novel.

4/5 stars
(eGalley)

43 comments:

  1. I am excited to read that one. I have heard great things about it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just got myself the audio book version. Going to start listening to this next week. All the raving reviews I read, I hope I won't be disappointed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Natasha, I'm hoping the audio book reader is a good one, as I think this would make a great one to listen to.

      Delete
  3. OK, I think I'm going to be in minority on this one. I was with GONE GIRL (yes, I brought that one up) as well. I've started and stopped and started and stopped this one. Sigh. I'm going to finish it, but my word, I dislike Rachel. Maybe my problem is that I have a hard time reading books that are populated with people that I definitely would not want to know in real life, regardless of how well written. OK, let the tomato throwing begin...LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I disliked Rachel as well and found her quite pathetic, but then I though it was interesting to see how she seemed to evolve.

      Delete
  4. This seems to be the book everyone is reading right now!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just posted my review of this one as well - I liked it a lot, didn't love it. I was enthralled with the psychological issues, but didn't love the thriller part as much. In addition to my regular (spoiler free) review, I posted a separate spoiler discussion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah, I'll pop over and check out your review. I liked the character development, and though Rachel irked me, I I felt sorry for her at times.

      Delete
  6. I have this on my list of books to find and read; it seems very popular right now and I see you have given it 4 stars!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked it, but didn't love it -- hope you do try it though.

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I just picked a Kindle copy up with my Amazon credits! Can't wait to read it. I am reading Her now, and it too, has alternating chapters and actually, sounds a bit like Girl on the Train so I am going to have to space them apart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll be curious to read your thoughts at some point. I MUST check out -- Her --curious now.

      Delete
  9. I have a hard time with books in which all the characters are unlikeable!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jill, I use to feel the same way, but now, if the story is decent, I don't mind.

      Delete
  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So sorry for the awful cut and paste job. I did a preview before I published it, but the preview would not let me edit it. The edit button wouldn't let me edit. I hope you can understand it.

      Delete
    2. Sorry Techeditor, but I deleted the long comment as I felt it gave away too much of the story. Thanks for stopping by and sorry this one wasn't perfect for you. Movie rights have been purchased.

      Delete
  11. I am glad you liked this one, Diane! I have an audio copy and am looking forward to listening to it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well, you already know how I feel about this one! I agree that it is an impressive debut. I would love to see Hawkins move away from the unreliable narrator and do more with the psychology of the characters. That, to me, was the strongest part of the book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do like unreliable characters, but Rachel was a bit over the top IMO.

      Delete
  13. Diane, I'm glad you enjoyed reading The Girl on the Train. It sounds interesting to me as well. (It would be fun to see a girl on the train or subway reading this.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet there are plenty "girls on the train" reading this one lately LOL

      Delete
  14. Great review Diane. This book is getting so much buzz, I am curious to read it now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pat, not sure if you heard, but movie rights have been acquired.

      Delete
  15. I always hear the hype about books and worry that they will disappoint. This one sounds like a good one to pick up when I want a fast read!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what u mean Melissa, I hate when I'm all excited about a new book and it is a bomb.

      Delete
  16. Very intriguing - I keep hearing good things about this novel! Thanks for the review -

    Sue

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a quick read Sue and it'll keep you interested I think.

      Delete
  17. I sort of like the unlikeable sometimes!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am curious about this one. I am sure I will get to it eventually. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope that you enjoy it Kailana -- movie down the road.

      Delete
  19. I haven't read this because I tend to dislike hyped up novels, and I don't often read one everyone else is reading. (Bellezza, party of one?) But, I had to come here to see your opinion. I'm not surprised you liked it, but kept it from five full stars.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's actually a style that I like, but I was more interested in what made the characters tick than in the mystery itself.

      BTW - nothing wrong with a party of (1) IMO --LOL

      Delete
  20. I'm really curious about this one! While it looks so good I'm a little worried about the unlikable characters. Sometimes it works for me but sometimes it doesn't. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm really curious about this one!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I read this last week! It wasn't perfect, but I enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Downloaded this to my Nook a week or so ago - now just need to get the new power cord so I can actually read it!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thank again for visiting.

(I apologize for the word verification, spammers spoil it for all sadly.)