My review of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publication Date: 13th January 2015
Publisher: Black Swan
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Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train Review

If you read my blog, you may know that this year has been my year for crime thrillers. I can’t get enough of them. You may also know that one of my favourite books is Gone Girl (I might have mentioned it a couple of times). I couldn’t wait to read The Girl on the Train, but never got round to actually reading it. Then when I realised the film was due to come out very soon, I went straight to Amazon and bought it (in their rather too tempting 3 for £10 offer. In case you’re interested, you can see which other books I bought here). I’m so glad I did!

The book started off a bit slow and I almost wanted the story to move on a bit faster. The first three or four chapters recounted Rachel, the main character, going back and forth on trains. Okay, the book is called ‘The Girl on the Train’ so you need to expect that there might be a lot of a girl on a train, but it went on for aaaages. I soon realised that it was just setting the scene, though, and accepted the slow start as being necessary.

“I loved the twists and turns of the story, and the switching perspectives between multiple characters.”

After getting past this slow start, the story suddenly picks up its pace. We learn about Rachel’s background, where she lives, and the events in her past that have left her slightly disturbed. As she travels on the train every day, she begins to make up an entire persona for a couple living in a house she can see from the train window – a house on the street she used to live. Rachel sees all sorts of drama between the couple from that train window. Then one day, the women Rachel knows in her head as Jess goes missing. What can Rachel piece together from what she’s seen?

I loved the twists and turns of the story, and the switching perspectives between multiple characters. Not only did the perspectives switch but the dates and times jumped about too. One chapter will be Rachel’s perspective from August, and suddenly the next chapter will be someone else’s perspective from two months before. I found this to be a great way to put the story together, because I would find something out in Rachel’s perspective, and then jump back a couple of months to see how that event actually happened.

“If [the film] is bad, at least I can forget about it and focus on how great the book is instead.”

I was satisfied with the ending too. In some crime books the ending can leave me thinking “Oh, was that is?”, but with this it wasn’t the case. The events raced towards the end, making it so fast-paced that I couldn’t stop reading.

The film adaption came out yesterday and I can’t wait to see how they’ve transferred it from page to screen. I’m also extremely nervous – the reviews haven’t been great, and I’m annoyed they’ve moved the setting from London to America! If it’s bad, at least I can forget about it and focus on how great the book is instead.

My rating: 4