The Girl on the Train ~ Paula Hawkins
Goodreads Summary: Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. 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 offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Girl on the Train is a book that has been getting a lot of buzz this year. I finished reading it a few weeks ago, but held off posting my review until I was certain about my feelings for this book. Goodreads called Girl on the Train, “A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories”. However, after taking some time to reflect, I am certain that, for me, this book has not lived up to all of the hype.
As an out of work alcoholic, Rachel has everything a reader could hope for in an unreliable narrator. She is sad, weak and starved for attention – no matter how negative. Her obsession with the lives of the people she observes on the daily commuter train creates a blurred line (in no way referencing the song) between reality and the world she has created within the confines of her imagination. Thus creating a predicament for the reader about who to believe as the narration is divided up among the characters.
While the premise of the book was intriguing, I felt that the book itself left something to be desired. I wanted this book to be as gripping as Gone Girl. I wanted the characters to be as enigmatic and as the fabulous the Liars in We Were Liars. I had SUCH high hopes for this story, but for me, it fell flat. When my friends asked me how I was liking this book, I struggled to find anything nicer to say than, “It is FINE. I don’t exactly find myself dying to pick it back up.”
I suppose my biggest issue with this book is that I found the bulk of the characters to be flat, spiteful and vindictive. The main cast of characters didn’t have a lot of redeemable qualities. So, I found myself not really caring whether or not I finished their story. I wasn’t invested in discovering what was going to happen later in the book because the narrative just didn’t drive me to keep reading. It took me WEEKS to finish this book, when I normally tear through several books per week. Overall, I would say I found this book disappointing – especially considering the media hype surrounding the story.