Book Review: The Girl On The Train

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

Published Jan 2015 by Doubleday (UK) and Riverhead Books (US)

Rating 5 out of 5

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OK, so I’m a little late to the game with reading this book. It’s been on my TBR list for some time and when I received it as a birthday present last week, I felt like I should promote it to the top of the pile as a thank you.

This bestseller is Paula Hawkins’ first dip into the psychological thriller genre of fiction, although she is by no means a newcomer to writing, having been a journalist and writer of finance and business before moving on to writing romantic comedy fiction under the name Amy Silver, writing four novels including Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista.

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The Girl On The Train is an entirely darker direction.

I’ll try to keep the plot spoiler-free. Written in a first-person narrative from the perspectives of Rachel (the main focus character) and Megan and Anna; whose lives and stories become interwoven in an interesting and compelling way.

Set in and around the London area in 2012/2013, the author structures the narratives in sections of specific dates (usually further still by sections of morning/evening) and the story becomes even more interesting to read when the timelines of the characters fall out of sync with each other.

Hawkins’ really pulls off these characters in terms of relate-ability; Rachel is not just the cliché flawed and damaged divorcee – she is a total disaster, with no faith in herself – and her endless procrastination spoke volumes to me! Megan/Jess and Anna also have anxieties hiding just under the surface that a lot of women will relate to; but this book also touches on the darker sides of emotional abuse, domestic violence and substance abuse and whether directly relate-able or not, these grittier themes captured from a first person perspective really draw the reader in.

The Girl On The Train is a psychological thriller and does the genre proud. It is reminiscent of Gone Girl or Before I Go To Sleep but still holds its own in a vastly saturated market of similar titles.

At 320 pages long, this book is structured well and brings enough pace to keep the pages turning, I read this in pretty much one sitting and really enjoyed doing so.

As with many bestsellers nowadays, this book is being made into a movie, the rights acquired by Dreamworks, and is scheduled for release October 2016, so I would recommend reading this book before the film comes out as there will be inevitable changes – it has already been confirmed to be in New York rather than London.

All in all, a good thriller with an interesting plot full of suspense and rich characters. If this is Paula Hawkins’ first entry in to the genre then I’m excited to read what she does next.

FYI – This post was on my old blog and was published Nov 2015

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