Monday, 8 June 2015

The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

Published: January 2015
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 316


Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…


The Girl on the Train is a gripping and fast thriller that hooked me right from the start and took me about a day to read. This book has been compared to Gone Girl by so many people that it was hard not to do it myself as I was reading it, but I feel it is a useful way of figuring out if you’d like this book. If you found Gone Girl a little long, or convoluted you'd probably enjoy this.

In my opinion, it reminded me more of Before I go to Sleep by S.J. Watson, because so much of the plot and the mystery is concerned with memory, or the lack of it. Rachel, the main narrator , is an alcoholic and suffers from blackouts causing her to have gaps in her memory. This plays a huge role in the plot as Rachel tries to retrieve her missing memories to solve the mystery.

As well as being narrated by Rachel, the plot is narrated by Anna and Megan. All three narrators are extremely unreliable for different reasons. The book is written in the form of entries, mostly morning and evening to coincide with Rachel’s train in and out of London.  I found reading from Rachel’s point of view extremely interesting, I’ve never read a book from the point of view of an addict and it was riveting and heartbreaking to watch Rachel struggle with herself.

The narrative jumps backwards and forwards, and as I wasn’t really paying attention to the dates I was very confused to begin with. But when “the inciting incident” happens , the jumping back and forwards makes a lot more sense.

I wouldn’t say the ending was unpredictable, but I only figured it out only a few pages before the characters did , so in that way it’s one of the most surprising thrillers I’ve read.

The Girl on the Train is a fast paced, gripping read and I would recommend it to anyone who is new to the thriller genre like me, and anyone who’s looking for a quick holiday read.

Five Stars *****

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I really need to pick up this book- I've heard nothing but great things