Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review: The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

I think we all know this book has gotten a lot of hype.  All of it is well deserved.

Rachel is an alcoholic.  She commutes back and forth on the train each day to London.  The train always makes a stop in front of a house on the street where she used to live.  After seeing the same house out the window every day, she's invented an entire history about the couple who live there - Jess and Jason.  One day, Rachel sees "Jess" kissing a strange man.  The next day, Jess is missing.  This story is told from Rachel's point of view, and also from the point of view of Megan ("Jess"), and Anna (the woman married to Rachel's ex-husband).

This book was fantastic.  I can see why it has received so much attention.  I'm a sucker for books told from multiple points of view.  I listened to this on audio, and I loved hearing the different narrators.  Each point of view left me with the urge to continue the story in order to hear what happens next - not cliffhangers necessarily, but I definitely wanted to get back to that person's storyline asap.  

I have trouble reading about people with substance abuse problems.  This was a little hard for me at times.  I felt the same about The Goldfinch.  There's something about that loss of control that really freaks me out, and although the story is supposed to be chilling because Megan is missing, the substance abuse thing added another layer of uncomfortable for me.  I originally chose this book because it was October and I thought a suspense would be perfect for the Halloween season.  I didn't find the book "scary", but it was certainly suspenseful.  

This is an example of a book I loved despite disliking all of the main characters.  I think this is difficult for an author to accomplish - keeping the reader interested when there's nothing redeemable about the characters.  I felt for Rachel, especially after understanding why her alcoholism started, but I still didn't like her very much.  I definitely disliked Megan and (especially) Anna.  And don't get me started on the men.  The premise was so captivating it made up for the fact that I wasn't really rooting for anyone in particular.

This is a great book - it kept me guessing and was fantastic on audio.  I had a particularly long week of driving ahead of me, and this was absolutely perfect.

Interested? Pick it up!

How about you?  Have you read The Girl on the Train?  Did you enjoy it?  Was it worth all the hype?  Did you like any of the characters?

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