Author’s Note: I wrote this article last week, but due to an unfourtonate events have been quarantined in my house. I’m just now sitting down and editing since I figured it was about time to get my rear in gear and get this done. Okay, that’s all I needed to say.
Today I finished reading “The Girl On the Train” by Paula Hawkins so we would be able to talk about it, and oh by I’m not sure where to begin. Let me start off by saying SPOILER ALERTS will be ahead on this review, so you’ve been warned.
The novel “The Girl on the Train” is now a motion picture as of 2016, but I have yet to watch it. I’ve been planning to read this book for a while after picking it up from a used bookstore sometime between 2015-2017 because I wanted to watch the movie and then ended up doing neither, because that’s just how I roll.
For a brief symposium, this book follows the unreliable narration of Rachel Watson. Rachel rides past the house she had once lived in with her ex-husband (Tom Watson) everyday on her way to work. Except Rachel doesn’t live there now. She also does not have a job that she repetitively lies about having… So every morning, Rachel looks at her old house and essentially spies on her husband, his new wife, and their neighbors. This combination is usually her morning routine, at least. Rachel also spends her evening passing the time by repetitively calling Tom’s house, showing up to Tom’s house, and just overall terrorizing him and his new wife. For all that she does, Tom never wants to call the cops on her despite Tom’s new woman Anna begging him to do something about Rachel. Anna is also the woman Tom left Rachel for, and there’s a bunch of plot that I’m not going to let go for you since I already gave you the general dynamic of this triangle.
For those of you wondering…
Rachel also has an unhealthy fascination with Tom’s neighbors a few doors down. The couple she has been fantasizing about has been having marital issues of their own. Everyone knows Scott and Megan fight a lot. When Megan goes missing, Rachel takes it upon herself to stick her nose into the case believing herself to be useful. Plot happens. Girl power moment, and then Rachel is on the train for our end sequence.
Okay, so now that I got the plot out of the way, let me explore a little more into what I liked and didn’t like about this novel.
The novel has four main places it takes place– the train (obviously), Tom’s house, Scott’s House, Kathy’s, and the park. There is a few other places strewn in there, but these will be the main focuses of the story. The settings are believable to a point. I am unable to understand why somebody would willingly choose to stay on a public transit everyday when they don’t have to, but hey, but maybe that’s just me during COVID being paranoid. The playground is going to be an important key later on in the book, although I was frustrated by how often it is brought up before being tied back.
Everybody. Has. Issues. You have issues, I have issues. Everyone in this book has a sketchy past.
Our main narrator is unreliable and Rachel spends most of the book battling her alcohol addiction to help another character she has no relatable reason to be helping. Fantasizing and projecting her ideal life onto people she sees everyday on the train is borderline stalkerish, made only worse by the fact that she continuously stalks her ex-husband and his new wife a few doors down.
Scott’s character is someone who I cannot feel sorry for, although of everyone we know probably the least amount about him and his background story. Even if Megan hadn’t died and this entire plot was null and void, they should have looked into couple’s therapy or divorce.
Megan’s back story does a 360 about halfway through the book, and she does a lot of shady crap. Her background story is probably the worst one out of the six of them, and I cannot imagine all of this was hidden until then. I have more than one literal question that’s entirely beside the point, such as: Where did she get the money to one day curate a art gallery? Aren’t you supposed to have some sort of experience to do a job like that? Perhaps that was all just omitted from the book, but I’m not exactly sure.
Tom is a narcissistic man, and I don’t need a crystal ball to identify this in him. He’s not a prince charming, although Rachel wants you to believe he is. What man who doesn’t have his own hidden agenda let’s his ex-wife pull the shenanigans that she does to his new wife and his child?
Ana’s character is petty. For being the meek and timid wife everyone believes her to be, she sure enjoys married male attention in ways I had never seen before. This has to be some sort of disease, or a kink. I’m not sure.
Kathy just wants to help a friend that is downtrodden. Which I can relate to, but the amount of crap she puts up with from Rachel makes me want to slap her silly in hopes it’ll knock some sense into her. Rachel hides booze around the house, she pukes on the stairs and doesn’t even have the common decency to clean it. She finds out Rachel has been lying about keeping a job. She is enabling Rachel’s bad addiction without really helping. Friends don’t enable friends.
Absolutely uninspiring. We can see it coming from a mile away, making it a dissatisfying “who done it” moment. Since I was really looking forward to a plot twist, the fact that there wasn’t much of one makes me sad.
This was a solid novel, despite me making fun of the book at least a little. Would I recommend the book? Maybe. This isn’t going to be your next favorite read. If you’re trying to get back into reading after a literary hiatus, this is probably not the book for you. But if you’re looking for a mystery on a rainy day then this book might be a good read. There was a few intense moments that had me burning through 30 pages in a sitting, but there was quite a few dull moments where I was just biting at the bit to finish.
Overall, I give the novel “The Girl On the Train” three stars. The book is okay, even though it is a little too predictable for my taste.
You can find this book on Amazon currently for $7.45 in the link above. Tell me if you agree or disagree in the comments below!