Publisher: Riverhead Books
Snail Rating out of five:
Its only now that I’ve discovered this novel. I tend to reject hype around books, film, holidays – I can be a stubborn reader which isn’t the best trait to have, but I managed to break it and pick up The Girl on the Train. I’m a little late, but I can’t let a review slide.
Traveling on the same train every day, Rachel observes the same couple living on the same street she once lived in. They are happy and care-free, all the things she once was before her addiction ruined her marriage and sent her husband running into the arms of another woman.
But something awful happens and the couple are not as they seem.
When Megan Hipwell goes missing, Rachel is certain she has the key to finding her even though she has never met her and knows nothing about her life apart from what she has seen from the train window. What follows is a fast-paced thriller, packed with lies and unreliable memories of an alcholic. This novel is written from multiple points of view; three women all linked by the men they’ve been in love with.
I was hooked from page one.
I happened to be on a five hour train journey which drew me through the majority of the book. I think it was the writing style that I enjoyed the most. I felt I was totally immersed into Rachael’s – our protagonist’s- world, into her mind and her thought-processes. Being close to someone with alcoholism, it felt refreshing to be in the mind of the addict – it was non-directly relatable and is perhaps what kept me reading.
There was also a nostalgic feeling running though the book that took me a while to put my finger on. I think it was the trains. Though Rachel is constantly moving; commuting by train every day, she never really goes anywhere. Not physically at least. Its not until the end of the book that her character development really kicks in and I got the feeling that she had been in limbo for a very long time… which can be said for the other two female protagonists. It gives a feeling of waiting; of not moving on and which seems to shroud the book in a sense of unease.
I have to say, I’ve read a lot of negative reviews about this book and I’m inclined to agree with a few of them. A few have said the twist is predictable, the story too slow… I agree it was predictable and without giving anything away, I disliked how the male characters were mostly portrayed negatively. However, as for the ‘slow’ pace of the book, it certainly got my turning pages and I appreciated how Paula works through the minds of each character – character over plot, any day.