The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

I picked this up when I read the comparisons with Gone Girl and all the praising reviews I read over at goodreads. While it was a fast paced, suspense story, I wasn't left feeling that dread, that gutted feeling like I did after my Gone Girl reading. I wouldn't have compared the two myself, if the comparison wasn't there in the first place.. But if you, like me, love Flynn's twisted mind, you won't love this one. But you will enjoy it. Like I did.

(I will mark spoilers,don't worry)

 

The plot

You have three women who narrate the story in different timelines. At some point the narratives connect and the story ends. What's the story? It was the story of Rachel, who is trying to cope with her drinking problem, her divorce and her empty life in general. Rachel takes the train every day for work even though she was fired. She doesn't want her roommate to know that. On her way,she passes the house she used to live with her husband. A couple of houses next to hers, there is a couple, who in her head have the perfect marriage. Of course, things are never what they seem...

 

The writing/The Characters

I enjoyed the shifting between the narratives, as it was flawlessly done and it kept the quick pace. The characters were truly horrible. I wasn't rooting for any of them and I had little sympathy for one of them specifically. Also, they didn't feel very multi-dimensional to me. More about that on the next section marked with the spoiler tag.

 

My thoughts SPOILERS!

I usually read these kind of books with the idea that everyone is guilty, until proven otherwise. I keep reading and keep guessing, questioning the motives and the stories. This one was no different. However, there was a mark about half way through that I was pretty certain of who was the killer and why. The clues were there from the very beginning. It was cleverly done I admit: the lack of naming was there to throw you off. But the unstable husband, the one who never was a true shoulder for his wife to cry on, stunk of guilt..

 

As a side note, I hated the way Tom was speaking to Rachel:

"You are like one of those dogs, the unwanted ones that have been mistreated all their lives. You can kick them and kick them, but they'll still come back to you, cringing and wagging their tails. Begging. Hoping that this time it'll be different, that this time they'll do something right and you'll love them."

This brings me to my problem with the female characters. They felt like they were driven by their desires and how men perceived them. You have Rachel who has that awful drinking problem and all she can see is herself through Tom's eyes. Her friend, Cathy could have helped her more. They never had a meaningful conversation and they lived together for what? two years! Come on...I have a friend whose life is shattered, she keeps drinking herself to death and all I do is provide a roof under her house and that's it? This is why they didn't feel real...For the sake of the plot moving, I get that the author didn't waste time expanding on her minor characters but I felt that was taking away from the plot.. Maybe that was just me though. Because I have read others praising the character development...

Then we have the other two women, Megan and Anna.

Megan is the neighbor, whose narrative is scarce over the book and she has a dreadful secret, a troubled past and a problem feeling complete with her life. Her husband is abusive, she fells in love with her therapist, she screws her neighbor. Again I thought it was like there was so much left out of it.

Anna is the other woman. The woman who was so desirable that made Tom leave Rachel for her. I liked her the least of all of them, but this was the only character that I felt satisfied as to her development. There was even a point when I thought she was even considering of staying with him, helping him cover the whole thing. You know make Rachel go away and stage the whole thing as her little perfect family was attacked by Rachel, the unstable ex-wife. I almost wished that she did. That would make her more..I don't know...interesting? (I know, I know I have a twisted mind...)

(show spoiler)

I enjoyed reading this, I really did.. But it wasn't as twisted as I expected.