Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
January 13, 2015
336 pages
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Source: Personal purchase

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?

I wish I liked this one more. It is an interesting concept with the alternating chapters between characters, the vague narration, the mystery of a woman's disappearance, the train travel. But for me the good parts did not outweigh the boring or less than stellar parts.

My feelings in short: Engaging beginning, boring middle, exciting ending.

My main problems were:

1. Writing style. It was waaaaaaay too much internal dialogue. Some is totally okay. We all think in our heads or talk to ourselves. But I hate excessive internal dialogue, and in the case of this story it was a lot. So for me, this was a major issue. Now, if you like internal dialogue, you may very well love this book. But I personally need more character interactions; more showing, less telling, please.

2. Characters. I also didn't like any of these characters, except for Rachel's roommate (who was dismissed for being nice). Rachel, Anna, and Megan are the narrators, and I found my interest in them waning. Having an alcoholic for a main narrator was interesting to start, then super annoying. Tom and Scott were no better. These people all had issues galore, which usually makes for an intriguing read. But unfortunately, even with their issues, I lost my interest in them.

3. Repetitive. I was pretty engaged in the first 30% or so. Basically until I figured out the twist. Then I was waiting for the characters to catch up with me. Then I was bored. It was lie, get drunk, blackout; rinse and repeat. Once I knew what was coming (maybe not the details, but the main idea), I felt like maybe 100 pages of the book could have been removed due to sheer repetitiveness, and it would have been fine with me. Living in an alcoholic haze with Rachel became tedious. The saving grace was the ending. At least it left me on a high note.

On the positive side, I read this book for my book club, and I was in the minority on my feelings toward it. The other women either liked or loved it. So this book got a 5/6 approval rating ffrom us. No one else in my book club figured out the twist, either, so they were far more engaged than I was. Perhaps if I hadn't figured out the twist at 30% I would have liked it more, too. Oh well.

Would I recommend this book? Sure. If you like a book with mystery and odd characters, and don't mind a lot of internal dialogue, this might just be the book for you.


1 comment:

  1. I'm currently listening to this one (a bit over halfway through) and I do find it a bit boring at times. But, I'm so intrigued. I need to know how it all plays out. I'm more patient with audiobooks too. I've heard such great things about this book I thought I'm missing something. Comparisons to Gone Girl, which I'm not sure I agree with. Thanks for the great review.


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