Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

BLURB
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. 'Jess and Jason', she calls them. Their life - as she sees it - is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she's only watched from afar. Now they'll see; she's much more than just the girl on the train...
PLOT
When you catch the same train daily, it's easy to notice the same people day in day out, see familiar sights from your window and waste some time people watching... Rachel, the main protagonist of The Girl on the Train, takes it a little further than that however. The plot of The Girl on the Train is kind of hard to delve in to when wanting to keep your review spoiler free, but I think it's okay to say that all is not what it seems.
The plot as a whole really throws you for a loop, and I never once got comfortable in my knowledge of where I thought this was all going.
CHARACTERS
There are a number of  focal characters within this book, but I'm going to focus on Rachel as I really enjoyed her character development.
Rachel commutes daily from the suburbs to London and on route she passes a row of houses that have significance to her. We learn of 'Jason and Jess', a young couple Rachel doesn't know, but has created a life for, making a story for them from the glimpses she catches whilst on the train. One day an incident occurs which makes her question all that she 'knew' about the couple, whilst wrecking havoc for her own life too.
I really enjoy Rachel as a character. She has an in depth backstory and as the plot unfolds you really get an understanding of her as a person and how she came to be where she is today. Whilst piecing her life together I really felt for Rachel, feeling like she really just needed someone to invest themselves in her in order to help her. Instead it ends up being her investing herself in to someone else.
Being an alcoholic, Rachel would undertake certain actions without thinking - such as bothering her ex husband and his new family - and would be considered very unreliable. The unreliability played in to the narrative of the book, and whilst at times it was a little frustrating, I feel like overall that lent to the reading experience as you could understand just how frustrated Rachel would be with not knowing if what she is thinking to be true or not.
I think Rachel is a really well crafted character, and she isn't the only one.
WRITING
I'm a little late getting round to reading The Girl on the Train, and in fact I avoided reading it when there was so much talk of the book surrounding its release as I thought that would diminish my reading experience. Having read the book now that it's fallen off the radar almost, I feel like I didn't go in with any expectations and that's what I wanted as a year ago I was hearing such mixed feedback.
The writing style within this book is quite interesting as it's told from multiple viewpoints, with each characters narrative being split up in to times of day, so most things that unfold are being reported back by the character in the morning or evening (other times of day are used occasionally). That method of story telling really worked with the plot as we were getting a side of the story as opposed to the actual actions as and when they take place, which is quite important in this kind of book where you as a reader are trying to piece everything together.
With suspenseful writing, The Girl on the Train proves to be quite a page turner - I was addicted, reading whenever I had a spare minute.
OVERALL THOUGHTS
If mystery thrillers are your kind of read, then regardless of what you've heard, I think it's worth checking out The Girl on the Train as its the kind of book that you need to experience first hand.
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12 comments

  1. Great review! I am really glad I read this one before the hype. I really don't think I would've read it or enjoyed it if I had waited. Hyped books tend to disappoint me. I think it'll be a good movie!

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    1. Hype can definitely ruin a book! I don't read a lot of newly released books, so when there's a book I'm interested in but is receiving a lot of buzz upon release, I tend to leave it a good while before I get round to reading it. I kind of feared I'd be disappointed with this one, but it was a great reading experience.

      Yes - it would make a great film!!

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  2. Due to the hype and mixed reviews I took this one off my reading list. Something about it just seems off now. I understand about the hype I'm glad waiting worked for you.

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    1. I totally get what you mean, Marce. In all honesty, if I hadn't discovered this edition of the book it probably would have fallen off my radar too. I was kind of sucked in by the cover.

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  3. I am curious about this book, but not sure when I will get to it. One day!

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    1. Haha - there are so many great books out there to read, one day seems to be a frequent saying in regards to books we hope to get round to.

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  4. I'm considering trying this one on audio. I'll also be a bit late to the party, but I think that's OK -- we can't read them all while the hype is at its peak -- and oftentimes I think it's better that way!

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    1. Yes, there are many instances where I've found reading after the peak only enhanced my reading experience.

      This might make for an interesting audio read - I hope you enjoy it if you do get round to reading it! :-)

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    2. I'm another for the audio choice. But time to add it in might be the deciding factor!
      Glad for your review as I'm another who isn't doing cartwheels with every new book rave ;)

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    3. I think more and more of us are becoming wary of new books, especially hyped ones!

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  5. I actually took it off my reading list due to the hype, I lost interest but I do love reading from multiple narrators. Sounds like maybe a unique spin, maybe I can read it for that experience but my expectations are very low so I'm not sure. Great review, it has me considering.

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  6. Good news book worms, The Girl On The Train Audio Book is available on AudioBooksNow.

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