Review of “The Girl on the Train”

“Girl on the Train” was an interesting, amazing, well-written book. But it’s also a rather bleak tale. It really begs the questions, “Do you really know someone?” “Why do we fantasize about people we will never really know?” “What if my life took a different direction?”

This is a story about 3 different women: Rachel, Megan and Anna. They’re often less-than-likable, each with secrets and their own unique set of issues. Rachel, the 1st main character, ponders these questions every day on the train. Her life is a mess. She is an alcoholic who recently lost her job because of said alcoholism. Her husband, Tom, has left her for another woman, and now her ex, his new wife, Anna and their baby are happily living in the home she used to share with Tom. She sometimes becomes so drunk that she doesn’t remember what she did the night before. She still rides the train same time everyday in order to fool her roommate, Cathy. And she has to see the home every time rides the train. She also sees a couple during her rides she calls Jess and Jason. They’re her version of the perfect couple. They never fight, always affectionate. Rachel smiles and melts when she sees them through her train window. But she’s never met them….

Jess’ real name is Megan. She’s married to Scott (Jason) and they aren’t the happy couple Rachel thinks they are. Megan has quit her job, working as a nanny. She’s previously worked at an art gallery, but lost that job too. She’s a drifter who doesn’t really know herself. She doesn’t seem to like marriage very much. She starts seeing a therapist, and eventually falls for him. And this isn’t the only time she cheats on Scott. And she keeps at least 2 very big secrets from him. And they’re doozies…

Anna is the woman Tom left Rachel for, and she’s not so great. She’s extremely self-centered, unkind and snobbish. She acts as if she did Rachel a favor by stealing her husband. She even loved being a mistress. But now that she’s settled down with Tom and her daughter in a more conventional life, she’s bored. She had more fun being the mistress than she does being the wife. Ugh. And she hates Rachel and her drunken taunting. She hates that Tom still helps her out sometimes. But Anna’s life is about to take a turn for the worst….

This already-intriguing story becomes more so when Megan disappears. We don’t know yet if she was kidnapped, or just ran away. Either way, Rachel takes it upon herself to find out what happened to Megan and why.

You never know what’s going to happen in G.O.T.T. You never know who to trust. Can you trust anyone? Rachel’s blackouts make her an unreliable narrator, but they also make her interesting. And we need her because this is basically her story. She’s the most active narrator out of the three. It was fun watching the pieces fall together and then fall apart. Or both. Wow, what a crazy ride.

But you just can’t help but grab the characters by the shoulders, shake them and say “Stop”! for making such dumb decisions at times. But I guess that just means Paula Hawkins is a great writer. She’s certainly had enough practice. She was a journalist for 15 years before she started writing this book. She does a good job at making us hate and love these characters. She gives the right amount of suspense and drama. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. This book is a must-read. Buy a copy of “Girl on The Train” today.

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