The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives.
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.
I was really excited to pick this one up for really cheap at Chapters ($10 and 50% off!) and I settled right down to read it (after two weeks, which is relatively quick). I started reading and was ... interested and then I completely lost interest half way through and only finished because I wanted to know Megan's side.
I feel like part of the problem is that I felt no sympathy for any of the characters. They were all just very unlikable and fairly plain and uninteresting because all three women basically had the same story line. That might be because they all knew the killer but still. It was boring. I thought it would be interesting to have the varying points of view until I realized that Megan's was from the past while Anna and Rachel were in the present. Anna was so petty and Rachel was so needy, I just couldn't get past their characterization to actually enjoy the story.
But to be honest, the mystery wasn't really there for me. It felt forced as if it couldn't be anyone too obvious so let's throw in a plot twist at the end so that it kept people guessing and confused. I felt like there might be some reread merit to this one to pick up some "clues," but I started reading the beginning and skimming the middle to scenes that the killer was mentioned in and ???? It was literally out of the blue. When Rachel has her realization that is when the audience knows it too, but it felt like it was pulled out of thin air.
In mystery and thriller, you know that the killer is generally not the first person that the main character (in this case, I guess that would be Rachel) assumes it to be because that would be too obvious. So in that sense, it was perfect. And the pacing of the story was good, it moved quickly and was based on the mornings and evenings of the characters generally, which made it fast paced in a sense. But I felt like the drama of it all got dragged out. Rachel is getting better, then she is getting worse, then she thinks it is this person, then another. It felt all over the place and because of the way the story was told, it didn't leave time to build it up in a sense.
I did quite enjoy the premise. And I did quite enjoy Megan. She had spirit and spunk. I really only finished because I saw that her story came right up to the "present" and I wanted to see things from her point of view at the time because we had shaky versions of the account from both Rachel and Anna.
None of the men were interesting to me and I did not like the police officers involved, but they were barely there as well. I feel like this was one of those "huge hype" books that I always get disappointed by, but it was still good. It just wasn't great.
Overall: 3/5. I was a little disappointed with this one tbh.