THE GIRL ON A TRAIN by Paula Hawkins

girl on a train

The latest buzz book is Hawkins’ debut thriller and frankly, that’s why I read it. To be honest, I felt like it was my professional responsibility to read it since my library patrons are all asking about it, other wise I never would have finished it.

In a word, it’s weird.

The unreliable narrator surged in popularity with Gone Girl – and just a caveat here, I tried to read the Flynn book on three separate occasions and just could not get past the first 40 pages. So I am not the one to do any comparisons there but rather I’m just repeating the oft told comparison in every other review.

That said, Train has a cast of several unreliable characters and the story switches viewpoints among most of them. Rachel is the girl on the train and she is a drunk with blackout issues. She rides the train to London back and forth each day imagining the lives of a couple she names “Jess and Jason.”

Anna is married to Rachel’s ex and understandably no love is lost between them. When Anna’s neighbor Megan goes missing and later is found dead, more details start emerging, and Megan is yet another voice we hear from. Megan turns out to be “Jess” and of course her controlling husband is the first suspect. She lived a few houses down from Rachel’s ex and his new wife, Anna, and there are lots of confrontations between Anna and Rachel.

I had a hard time relating to any of these characters and didn’t really care what happened to any of them. I started to like the book more than three quarters of the way through. That said, I really liked the ending.

2/15 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE GIRL ON A TRAIN by Paula Hawkins. Riverhead Hardcover (January 13, 2015). ISBN 978-1594633669. 336p.

9 Responses to THE GIRL ON A TRAIN by Paula Hawkins

  1. Bridget says:

    I’m a huge fan of unreliable narrators, so I loved this one. I actually read the whole thing in a single day because I couldn’t bear going to sleep without knowing the ending (which I liked as well). I can see how you would feel that none of the characters were exactly likable, though.

    • Stacy Alesi says:

      There’s a new book by Lisa Unger coming out tomorrow called Crazy Love You. Another unreliable narrator but really well done. I hope you’ll try it, I loved it. I’ll be posting my review tomorrow!

  2. melly801 says:

    I definitely want to read this book. Maybe we could compare notes, Stacy. I will wait for it to come out in paperback though. 🙂

  3. gegrizzle says:

    There’s a trick to reading Gone Girl. You have to start at the 50% mark. After that point, it’s an awesome, compelling story. Before that, it was complete garbage. I’m currently reading this Train book, and finding the same to be true of it. 😛

  4. Techeditor says:

    I read this too, and we agree.

    Riverhead, The publisher, is doing a great marketing job for this book, right down to its very clever cover. They have created a lot of hype.But, after all this hype, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN disappoints. While it kept my attention, it Was not as unputdownable as claimed until the last couple of chapters. It wasn’t for me.

    The entire book is about Rachel’s alcoholic blackouts and figuring out what really happened. She disgusted me.

    Some things about this book are aggravating. For instance, during tense moments, characters, especially Rachel, bite their lips, often so hard they draw blood. I could just imagine all the people walking around with bloody mouths they had chewed.

    The biggest aggravation is difficult to describe without saying too much and spoiling the story. It has to do with how everything is explained in the end. It is is if the writer couldn’t think of another way out of all the mystery

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