I’ve paired up with Patrick from The Blog From Another World, to do a collaboration.
The Girl On The Train is Paula Hawkins’ debut novel and was published in 2015. It has been since adapted into a 2016 film directed by Tate Taylor and starring Emily Blunt.
The Girl On The Train is a murder mystery and crime thriller in which we follow Rachel on her daily commutes back and forth on the train. She passes the same street (Bleinheim Road), the same houses and the same strangers each morning and evening. When one of the residents goes missing, Rachel feels compelled to try and help, but her own complicated history with Blenheim Road brings as many problems as it offers resolution.
I found The Girl On The Train so gripping that I didn’t want to put it down – a cliché, I know, but true. Stylistically, Hawkins’ writing reminded me of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and there was sufficient detail for me to understand the plot, but not enough to prematurely unravel the plot-twists.
I thought the repetition of the train as a motif was instantly obvious, but clever – the train is the only constant for Rachel after a life of instability, and links the character’s lives together.
I also liked the switches in narration between the three main characters: Rachel, Anna and Megan because it meant I could experience events from the perspectives of three different women who are all somehow involved in different events.
However, I couldn’t work out which character I wanted to support! Rachel seemed the obvious choice because she is the protagonist, and yet she is flawed. She struggles with alcoholism and isn’t completely honest with the police. I suppose the next character of choice would be Anna – Tom’s beautiful wife and the mother of his child. However, she has a rather petty and pedantic attitude towards other characters, making me dislike her. Last of all, there’s Megan. At first, she seems fairly normal and down-to-earth, but makes quite a few disastrous and silly decisions that ultimately put her in danger.
Yet despite my ability to pick a favourite character, I think this actually added to the book’s charm, because it made me question and ponder each characters’ personalities and motivations, which is exactly what I expect from a murder mystery.
The major plot twists in The Girl On The Train completely surprised me, although other book reviews may tell you differently.
All in all, I really enjoyed reading The Girl On The Train; it tackled themes of alcoholism, abuse, murder and affairs, and I strongly recommend it! I look forward to seeing how this has been carried through in the film adaptation. Look out for Patrick’s review of The Girl On The Train later this month!
– Judith and Patrick