Rachel goes on the same train to London every working day. On her train journeys she watches people from afar, one row of houses in particular. Theories about the relationship between ‘Jess and Jason’ occupy Rachel’s mind, until she witnesses an event she cannot remember. The next day she discovers that Jess, real name Megan, has gone missing and Rachel was on that same street the night Megan disappeared. Paula Hawkins sets you up for the perfect novel designed to be a real page turner.
I really enjoyed reading The Girl on The Train, because I found the connections between the different characters interesting to read. The street that Megan (called Jess by Rachel), lives on was the same street that Rachel used to live on and where her ex-husband currently resides. As a reader I do enjoy to read books where the point of view changes each chapter. Although, The Girl on The Train is primarily about Rachel, there are also chapters following the story of Megan, the woman who Rachel observed from the train and Anna, Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife. The switch between the three characters, helps the reader draw their own conclusions about the mystery, whilst keeping back the key information which is hidden in Rachel’s suppressed memory.
The main reason this novel works as a thrilling read is the detail about Rachel and her past. Rachel is an alcoholic who still cannot get over losing her husband Tom to another woman. Rachel is painted as a woman whose life has hit hard times and is struggling to move on. Not having much of a life of her own is what probably made Rachel become obsessed with solving the case of Megan’s disappearance, despite that not being her business. Living in a state of limbo makes us as people lie to ourselves and in Rachel’s case start lying to her best friend Cathy, to keep up the charade that she still has a job. Lying becomes a habit to Rachel in order to try and find clues to Megan’s disappearance.
My main criticism of this book, is that the story is a little slow to begin with and in the slow part of the book, you still do not really know Rachel’s full history. The Girl on the Train is a character driven novel, but the details about the character help drive a fast moving plot in the second half of the book. Moreover, Rachel’s character flaws make her seem an unreliable witness to events that lead to Megan’s disappearance.
The Girl on the Train is a thrilling read; full of good use of connections between characters. Rachel’s character drives the plot of this novel forward, with other chapters giving details from the viewpoints of both Megan and Anna. The novel was slow for me at the beginning but it transformed into a fast paced thriller from halfway point. This book is worth a read if you enjoy fast thrillers with mystery.
Rating: 4/5 Stars