About two summers ago, I discovered my favorite literary genre: suspense. Lately, I’m loving all things crime, thrill, and mystery (Scandal, anyone?). So, when I was recommended The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, I couldn’t wait to get lost in another puzzling plot.
Rachel is a recent divorcee and an alcoholic. She lost her job, she lost her husband, Tom, and she lost the life she dreamed of to her husband’s mistress, Anna.
In order to cope, day in and day out, Rachel takes the train to London, passing by the same places and people. She takes a special interest in one specific couple who reside near a train stop on Rachel’s daily route.
Everyday, she sees these two people– whom she affectionately names Jason and Jess— and she falls in love with the life she imagines for them. In her mind, Jason and Jess have the perfect relationship with no worries, just unconditional and unwavering love– the kind of love Rachel wishes she still had with Tom.
One day, as the train stops in front of the home, Rachel notices something out of the ordinary, something that alarms her greatly. She decides to play detective, attempting to solve the mystery on her own terms. How far is she willing to go to help a family she doesn’t truly know?
The Girl on the Train is the story of a troubled woman who is willing to go to great lengths to find answers, seek acceptance, and attempt to fix the mistakes of her past. As the stories of characters intertwine, dark secrets are unveiled and mysteries are unraveled. This novel is sure to leave you pondering what goes on behind the closed doors of the ones you think you know best.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
In this novel, every character has his/her secrets and every character is capable of performing the unthinkable. Rachel believed she knew the people in her life like the back of her hand. As the novel grows deeper in plot, she realizes that she only knows as much about people as they have told her. In other words, she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know.
This theme made me question the people in my own life. What don’t I know about them? What haven’t they told me? Is everything that they’ve lead me to believe true? Or is everything I know about them fabricated based on how they wish to be perceived?
The Girl on the Train was certainly a page-turner for me. I enjoyed that the story was told from multiple perspectives, and I appreciated that the chapters were short and they often ended in cliffhangers. It was fun to piece together parts of the puzzle as new information was revealed.
Though it was a fun read, the story felt very slow and cliched at times. Overall, I’d recommend it if you’re looking for an easy read with a heavy load of suspense and plot twists.
Have you read The Girl on the Train? What themes did you find? Did you enjoy the book?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!