Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 13th 2015 by Riverhead Books

Rachel is really down on her luck. She is a severe alcoholic, which led to her losing her job, losing her husband to another woman, and has a small room in another person’s flat. The only solace she finds is the same commuter train she takes every morning. She also takes comfort in watching the same suburban couple, breakfasting on the deck. Rachel starts to feel intimate with them, even giving them the names of “Jess and Jason”. Until she sees something shocking. And this shocking event leads Rachel becoming involved in an event with serious ramifications  that will affect all the lives pf everyone involved, including Rachel’s.

This was a captivating novel. But when I say “captivating”, I think I use that term very loosely.Let me just say this right off the bat. A lot of reviewers and other fellow readers have compared to this novel with Gone Girl  by Gillian Flynn. The two things that are relatively similar to Gone Girl  are the three different perspectives the novel is told and you won’t like any of the characters. That’s basically the only connection. 

The storytelling was a little choppy in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I was gripped from beginning (although it had a slow start) to end. It just felt that there were so many plot holes and missing links, you think they would be resolved towards the end. But, you are disappointed when they are not. When I finish with a novel, I don’t want to leave with questions unanswered, unless they are philosophical questions. I understand you have to come up with your own answers. But with a mystery novel? All of your questions should be answered and tied neatly with a bow. I just didn’t feel that way with this one.

Another issue I had is with the culprit of the crime. I don’t if it’s because I have read so many mystery books and watched a lot of crime shows, but it was at least 80 pages into the book I already figured who did it. I think that was a flaw on the author’s side. She gave every other character a motive, even made Rachel and the victim’s husband a red herring, but made the murderer just too clean, and that was when I immediately suspected this character. She just made it too obvious and I think that loses the novel’s “element of surprise.

Overall, The Girl on the Train is not bad but it’s not great either. On Goodreads, I believe the publisher uses the term “Hitchcockian” and “psychological”.I can see “psychological”pertaining to the mind games the murdered plays on certain characters towards the end of the novel. But “Hitchcockian”? The suspense, maybe, but anything else, I’m doubtful.

I think people were so quick to fill the void Gone Girl , they were quick to find anything that would have any resemblance to it. In my opinion, Gone Girl was a one of kind novel and I don’t think any other novel could replicate the themes and the intense relationship the book. So my advice? If you are looking for another Gone Girl book, skip this book and just reread Gone Girl. If you want a quick “whodunnit” mystery with not a lot of depth, then this is the book for you. Just don’t have a lot of high expectations for it.

Overall Rating: 3 out 5 stars.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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