Sunday, November 6, 2016

Review: The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train cover
"There's nothing so painful, so corrosive, as suspicion."
-Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train

I'm not usually one to see the movie before the book, especially if the book is one I've been wanting to read for a while, but this is one time I did things backwards. I saw The Girl on the Train a week or so ago with my mom, and afterward, I was finally able to pick up the book and read it. And let me say, I was not disappointed.

Rachel takes the same train to and from her home every day, fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple that she sees through the window. She thinks about them so much that she almost feels like she knows the couple. Everything seems perfect, until one day Rachel sees something that jolts her fantasy, so much that she goes to the police, but her testimony is unreliable. Rachel quickly becomes entangled in the investigation and the lives of the people involved. Is she really as innocent as she thinks she is?

This book is told from three different perspectives, Rachel, Anna, and Megan. And honestly, none of the characters are all that likable. I couldn't help but cringe at some of the things that these characters did; but that's what makes this book great. Kind of like Gone Girl in that aspect. This kind of portrayal of women, women who have bad intentions, indulge in bad habits, etc., is important because it reflects reality. All women aren't the same, so why should women be portrayed the same in literature?

The format of the narrative also helps to add to the mystery and suspense of the novel. Jumping around in time, place, and narrator leaves it up to the reader to piece together the story in a similar way that Rachel is. And Rachel's unreliability as a character makes you wonder if what she's seeing is really true, if she's someone we can trust to tell us the truth. These elements combined draw you into the story quickly and don't let go until you know the truth of what happened. In fact, this element of truth draws together every piece of the story, much like a running current throughout the book.

Overall, this is an engaging read that fans of Gillian Flynn would definitely enjoy.

5/5 stars

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