Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Review: Rachel is a drunk. Two years ago her life completely fell apart when her husband left her for another woman. During the week, Rachel rides the same commuter train into London every morning at the same time and every day that train makes a brief stop outside of the same Victorian house. The home is owned by a young couple, who Rachel has named Jason and Jess in her mind. Seeing them everyday, Rachel starts to imagine what their life is like, creating a fantasy in her mind about their happy life together. However, their real names are Megan and Scott and their lives are anything but happy. And then one day Megan goes missing. 

Perspective: The Girl on the Train is told from the perspective of three different women. First is Rachel, the aforementioned drunk. She is the main character in the book, spending most of it getting herself into trouble with her drinking and trying to find out what happened to Megan. Next is Megan, herself. She is young, beautiful, and blonde, full of life but also filled with anxiety issues. She has a problem staying still, a free spirit, and a loose temper. Finally there is Anna, the woman Rachel’s husband had an affair with. She married Rachel’s ex, Tom, and they had a baby together. Anna is constantly afraid that Rachel is going to stumble to their door, drunk, and try to hurt her or her child. 

My opinion: I started reading this book because I had heard so many good reviews about it. And I understand why it got those reviews. It kept you guessing until the very end, was well written, and intriguing. The part of the book I couldn’t get behind was the characters. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel about them but I did not like any of them. I couldn’t stand Rachel, constantly gettin herself into trouble, drunk or sober, justifying why she could start drinking or have just one more. I was disgusted by the way she handled herself with help constantly being offered to her. She was so self absorbed, especially after Megan went missing. It was all about how she needed to know that Scott wasn’t responsible so she could cling to the fantasy that their life was perfect even though their lives were coming crashing down around them. I also thought Anna was the biggest bitch on the planet. I don’t know, I just didn’t like any of the characters. 

After having said that, I am not going to give the book a bad review. Getting over my personal dislike for the characters, it really was a good book. It’s an interesting story, a bit like Rear Window, and is intriguing until the end. Maybe someone else can look at these characters with a kinder heart than I can and can feel some sympathy towards them. Or perhaps, it was the authors intent for you to dislike the characters so you question them every step of them way. 

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