Review – “The Girl on The Train” by Paula Hawkins

After reading a couple of intense books on serious subjects, I needed a break. With lockdown in place and no deliveries happening, my dear kindle came to the rescue. With this, I also realized that I might be finally able to see the end of my TBR. LOL. Who am I kidding! I have practically tonnes of books kept unread, some untouched and unopened. Too many un-s, I don’t like them. I will put my head in like the Ostrich here and carry on.
The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins is a thriller novel and the debut book of the author. Loads of mixed reviews and no contemplation later, I started reading it, for it was waiting for me all this time having been bought by my husband God knows when!

Rachel is in her mid-thirties, divorced and hungover, both on her ex-husband who now is a happily married father of 1, and alcohol. On her way to work, Rachel’s train passes through the back lane of her ex-house, where she spies on Anna, the new wife, and a couple living in house number 15, whom she names Jason and Jess.
Megan and Scott live in house number 15 and have a seemingly happy life, perfect to the eyes of an outsider. But what seems good isn’t all good. Megan, with all her vulnerability, apparently is taking herself to a therapist on the behest of Scott and all that meets the eye is not entirely true.
Anna is sick of Rachel’s intrusion in their lives. The past 2 years have been nothing short of traumatic for her. Yes, she had an affair with Tom while he was still married to that drunkard, but it isn’t her fault that she was such a horrible wife to him, not to mention that she couldn’t give him what she gave, a child.
On a fateful Saturday evening, all these lives collide to never return to their tracks. What follows is a series of accidents and accusations and some forgetfulness on Rachel’s part which covers up what was in front of her eyes all this time.

This book is one of its kind, not in the terms of story but in terms of writing, the way the author builds up everything, in a non-threatening, non conforming and non-overwhelming manner, from the characters to the plot and the climax (which came at around 80% of the book and post it, it was just reading what you have already speculated) The characters are limited. Mostly, the story revolved around and is narrated by 3 women, Rachel, Megan, and Anna, and their ex-husband and husbands respectively. These ladies, when reading about them, looked so shallow and selfish that I thought of the story being a cliche, one in which the women are shown as pieces of lust and no brains. Only when sense struck me a lot later in the book that I realized how beautifully these ladies’ characters were honed. How each of them had layers to them and how important each layer was to the plot. How each of them was so different from the other and yet there was something that bound them. How each of them has so much to offer to introspect than it seems. Rachel with her inability to get over, Megan with a disturbing past and Anna with her insecurities, these 3 women were the essence of the story. A few nonessential characters were thrown into the way which was necessary but also didn’t add anything of substance to the plot. The story hardly moved in the first half of the book and I told my husband, who had recommended me this book, although he hadn’t finished it himself, that I don’t think I would be able to see it through, it’s so slow and repetitive that I don’t know what the author was thinking. He gave me a bleh. Trust me, it took courage and lockdown to keep me going. Nothing better to do, right. If I can’t finish a seemingly difficult book in lockdown then I can’t ever in normal days. LOL. I had started this book on a high note. Having heard a lot and seeing that it was a number 1 bestseller, I had lots of hope of being blown away. And you guessed it right, I wasn’t. Not as much as I had expected. Not like the way I had expected. But in an extremely subtle way, something that hits you once you have read the book and start thinking, it blows you then. Like you are enjoying a windy day, you are packing up after a fun outing, and then it blows you suddenly when you realize that you were in the storm all the time but were too engrossed in other things to notice. The suspense in itself isn’t as great as the built-up, which I believe is the core of the story. Some people compared it to Gone Girl which I haven’t read but have watched the movie and I didn’t find any similarities. I haven’t watched the movie for this book yet but I would want, to see if it does justice to the book or not, although it wouldn’t be as thrilling. Have you read the book or watched the movie? Let me know how you felt and what you thought.


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