Jul 27, 2015

The Girl on the Train

The False Prince book cover

by Paula Hawkins
book review rating 3 out of 5

I'M COMPLETELY TORN! My feelings for The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, are like a ping pong balls volleying between like and dislike. Despite the engrossing psychological thriller, I could not identify with or enjoy the characters themselves. Could you like a book if you didn’t like any characters? Ms. Hawkins has written three disturbing and intense narratives of characters that are extremely troubled and shamelessly irresponsible: the meddling drunk, the beautiful cheater, and the paranoid home wrecker.

Rachel Watson takes the train between Ashbury and London for work. During her hour-long commute, she passes by the house where she and her ex-husband Tom used to live. Four doors down is an attractive couple – “Jess and Jason.” She believes them to be the perfect, loving couple until one morning Rachel spots “Jess” romantically kissing a stranger, only to find out the next day on the news that “Jess” – Megan Hipwell – has gone missing. Rachel is questioned by the police after Tom’s new wife, Anna, reports that Rachel was near Megan’s home, drunkenly out of control, at the time of her disappearance. But, Rachel doesn’t remember…

And, she doesn’t remember often. Her constant state of inebriation followed by blackouts were highly, highly irritating. But, she does play a pivotal role in Megan’s disappearance and has a few redeeming qualities that eventually won me over, if barely.

Reading The Girl on the Train is a lot like witnessing a train wreck (pun intended). I know it’s gruesome and yet I cannot divert my eyes away. The bones hidden in each narrator’s closet is horrific and magnetic. I don’t want to go into too many details; like all thrillers, it’s best for readers to dive in spoiler-free. Ms. Hawkins carefully unravels the mystery of everything we think we know, until she reveals the riveting climax we didn’t see coming.  SURPRISE!

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