The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. 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 goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

My impressions:

Three women. Three POVs. A mystery behind the disappearance of one of them. Three possible male perpetrators. I got curious. What could go wrong? Nothing, right?

Then you jump and, surprise, surprise, you metaphorically break a leg, maybe even several legs, dear cat.

I could complain about many things: an non-existent mystery, almost completely inert police officers, two dimensional male leads or failed plot tricks. Let me just deal with the female characters because here lies my main complaint. I do like flawed heroines but honestly, everything has its limits, even nastiness and flaws. Apart from that I like it when my heroines differ from each other a bit – do I ask for too much? It seems with this book the answer is a firm ‘yes’.

Rachel is an alcoholic, a liar and a cheat. She deceives even herself. Sometimes she has blackouts and doesn’t remember anything afterwards – how very convenient. Her hubby has dumped her because apart from drinking heavily she also couldn’t get pregnant. Now she pretends she is commuting to work and everything is fine.

While sitting on the train she keeps observing the same house inhabited by a young couple. She calls them ‘Jason’ and ‘Jess’ and thinks they are blissfully happy. Of course they aren’t. One day the wife (called in real life Megan) is kissing a dark stranger in her backyard and Rachel cannot believe her own eyes. Then Megan disappears and Rachel goes to the police – she feels she has to do it and I do wonder why. All that she saw was an allegedly married woman kissing another guy, hardly a crime. Very predictably, the police don’t believe Rachel. Then she lies her way to the house of Megan’s husband, Scott who, facing the sudden disappearance of his wife, needs a consolation…

While Rach is not busy pretending she goes to work or investigates a crime she mails or phones her ex-husband and scares his new wife, Anna. Anna is afraid Rachel might want to kidnap her daughter, Evie. Of course Rach says  she doesn’t want to hurt the little girl but she managed to snatch her once and almost escaped. While Anna does her utmost to discourage Rachel, her husband, Tom, Rachel’s ex, sends mixed signals. Oh, and let’s not forget that Megan, who lost her art gallery and was, like Rachel, unemployed before her disappearance worked as little Evie’s babysitter. The last tidbit: Anna doesn’t work but somehow her husband wanted her to have a hired help with her only child anyway…maybe because she’s started to drink recently?

Have you spotted the pattern? It’s almost like with Gone Girl: make your hero or heroine disgusting and unemployed; the success is guaranteed. Only here you deal with three girls – or rather three clones of the same template.

Final verdict:

A sad tale about three female losers who either intoxicate themselves senseless and suffer or complain about their lives and suffer again. Every single thought they have is about how their decisions or actions might affect the men in their lives. Not a book I would recommend. Major meh.

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8 Responses to The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

  1. heidenkind says:

    I’ll probably watch the movie first and then decide

  2. Carole Rae says:

    I actually went and watched the movie…the movie wasn’t bad. I’ve been meaning to write a review…damn school is killing me and making me lazy. LOLLL Last class though! Once I’m done I will have more freeeeeddddoooooom.

    But yes…the story is interesting. The movie sounds more put together and mysterious tho.

  3. Melfka says:

    Your final verdict convinces me I should stay away from this book. It’s not even a bookish “pizza”.

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