Yes it really is as Good as They Say!

Posted: August 11, 2015 in Book Reviews
Tags: , , ,
Just the book for a scary night in with cocoa and biscuits

Just the book for a scary night in with cocoa and biscuits

I read Paula Hawkins’s debut novel The Girl on the Train after hearing about its international success back in February this year and its rave reviews. Described as the English follow up to Gone Girl, it remained in the New York Times Fiction Best sellers list for 13 consecutive weeks and Dreamworks are making it into a film (possibly starring Emily Blunt). I was eager to know what all the fuss was about. Was it as good as people said?

I loved the opening. Girl on train looks out of window on her regular commute to work and imagines what the people who live in the houses she passes are like. Something I’ve done myself and I’m sure many other readers have too.

The story is told from the viewpoint of Rachel, the girl on the train, and reads like a diary entry, alternating with Megan, the girl who lives in the house Rachel watches and where she herself lived until her marriage broke up. We get to understand Rachel’s sadness and frustration with her current life. Megan’s seems so much more exciting with her handsome partner, often seen by Rachel drinking wine and smooching in the garden that used to be hers.

Both Rachel and Megan have unlikable thoughts and behavior. Rachel drinks too much and often forgets what she’s said and done. A characteristic that becomes more important as the plot develops. Megan has a guilty secret and seems unable to commit to a relationship.

The chapters of ‘The Girl on the Train’ are short and compelling. The alternate point of view and uneven timelines work well, adding to the tension as Rachel gets more caught up in Megan’s life and as a reader you wonder just how much you can trust her. The characters are extremely well drawn, especially the women, and the red herrings are skillfully placed. Overall this really is a satisfying read and I can’t wait to see how the film version pans out.

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