Book Review: The Girl on the Train

6:00:00 PM

A couple years ago, when I was a Resident Assistant at my University, one of my residents and I got on the topic of books. Excitedly, she suggested that I read The Girl on the Train. I scribbled it down in my notebook and continued on with our conversation, eventually forgetting about the book all together.

Then earlier this year, I was browsing through Amazon and I happened upon the title again. I reread the synopsis and added the book to my cart. It was already quite full, but I figured, what's one more book?! Eventually, that's how my book hauls got started!

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

After reading Danielle Esplin's debut novel, Give It Back, I've had a slight craving for another psychological thriller and honestly, I had forgotten that I purchased The Girl on the Train. Nevertheless, I finally picked it up off of my bookshelf and got to reading!

Immediately, I noticed the similarities between Danielle and Paula's writing. Each chapter started out with a specific date, that you NEED to pay attention to and the chapters alternate between different points of view. Both books switching between three female characters tied into the story.

As I mentioned in a couple of my book reviews, there are only a few authors that can pull off writing chapters as various characters. There are only three that I know of: Danielle Esplin, Marianne Curley, and Paula Hawkins. After reading The Girl on the Train, I have officially added Paula to the list.

Unfortunately, having the ability to write in different characters perspectives, don't actually mean that you've created the best characters. One thing that I disliked about Paula's book was the way that her female characters saw themselves. For instance, each of the three featured women put so much of their self worth into their relationships with men and/or children. Personally, I just felt like there could have been better character development. I understand needing characters with backstory, but all three women struggled with toxic relationships, whether it was as a wife, a mistress, or a mother. And don't even get me started on the main character!

Similarly, it seems as though Paula has a type when it comes to creating characters. While all of her female characters seem to be very much alike, as do her male characters. In many instances, you believe one to be a certain type of way, only to find out that there is more to that character. Too bad, the same thing happens with each one. Had the male characters been a little more different, the story's villain may have been a little more shocking.

I do have to give Paula props on her plot twist though. A part of me did see it coming, but truthfully, that may just be because I grew up on horror movies and I find them to be a little predictable. Oh and I absolutely love watching crime shows :) For anyone else though, I don't think they would have had any idea and that's what makes a great plot twist!

As for the actual storyline, I did find it quite interesting. I've never been on a train before, but I can imagine what it's like to pass the same people every day and start to get an idea of what their life might be like. I definitely think it was a unique idea and it definitely has me leaning towards picking up another novel in this genre.

Overall, I would recommend this book. Even though I didn't agree with everything that Paula did, I still really liked the story itself. I do wish there had been a better ending though. Hopefully the movie spiced that up a bit!

If you're interested in purchasing this book, you can find it here

Have you read this book or watched the movie? I'd love to read what you thought in the comments!

* This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I'll receive some type of commission. For more information, you can read our full disclosure here. *

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