EVERY DAY THE SAME
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?
Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Number of Pages: 325
Publishing Date: Jan. 13th, 2015
This book has been on my TBR list for a while and, after seeing the trailer for the movie adaptation of this novel, I finally bought a copy of this novel and read it in one sitting. I kept seeing this book getting compared to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which is a book that I really enjoyed because it was thrilling and was loaded with plot twists. However, while this book was a wild ride, I think I had my hopes set too high for it. There were parts of this story that really hooked me, but the majority of the novel felt strewn out, repetitive, and fairly disappointing.
The rest of this review is spoiler-free.
The beginning of this book was setting up for the major plot build-up, which I understand takes time, but at times it felt unnecessarily slow and drug out. The more the plot developed, the less I began to like the characters and I found myself getting impatient as I waited for one of those holy crap, plot twist or ohh, this is getting intense now moments.
The pace of the novel finally picked up once I reached the last third of the novel and this was going to definitely be a four-star book for me until I reached the climax of the novel. I don’t want to say that it was completely predictable, but it definitely wasn’t as shocking or as thrilling as I was originally hoping for. The author did a good job with planting small hints throughout the novel and the twists and turns that the plot took held my attention really well at one point, but I think the way that the ending was executed fell really flat for me.
The characters were probably the biggest struggle that I dealt with whilst reading this novel. I totally understand the aspect of having heavily damaged and flawed characters and I appreciate when authors include characters that aren’t perfect because it adds to the overall realness of the book. But there was just something about every character in this novel that made them seem somewhat… unbearable…? If that’s the right word? Long story short, the only character that I really liked in this novel was Cathy, the main character’s roommate who really didn’t have that major of a role in the plot itself. I just couldn’t connect with or even have sympathy for any of the main characters, except for Megan; I enjoyed the chapters from her point of view the most.
I still haven’t even decided how I feel about the main character of the novel, Rachel. The majority of the decisions that she made were horrible (in my opinion) and every time I thought she was finally going to step up and do something that was realistic and ethical, she would do something else that intensely frustrated me. I usually love unlikable female protagonists but ugh; it was really, really hard to like this character at all and everything she did felt repetitive and, at times, ridiculous. However, with all of that being said, I think that the depiction of alcoholism within this novel was extremely well done and accurate. And, even though Rachel frustrated me through almost every chapter, I couldn’t help but sympathize with her and understand where she was coming from.
“Hollowness: that I understand. I’m starting to believe that there isn’t anything you can do to fix it. That’s what I’ve taken from the therapy sessions: the holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps.”
While I could go on and on about my mixed feelings, perhaps the characters within this novel are what made this story feel so real to me. Human beings make mistakes, they are flawed, and they can be incredibly frustrating and confusing at times, so the characters within this novel felt very authentic.
Paula Hawkins’s writing style was probably the only reason that I was able to read this book in one sitting. The plot had an immensely slow build-up that felt boring at quite a few points, but the author’s writing style continued to reel me in with every chapter. It was mysterious and it gave just enough information that it made me want to continue on reading.
Overall, I think that the idea of the story itself was good, but the way that it played out was what really let me down. The beginning felt too slow and when the story finally began to build-up and fully capture my interest, the ending was anti-climatic and not as thrilling or as unexpected as I was hoping for. This book was a wild ride and a fun read, but it was just not as mind-blowing as I wanted it to be.
So, have you read The Girl on the Train? What did you think about it? Comment below!