Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Book review: 'The Girl on the Train'

The Girl on the Train was the first book on my summer reading list this year, and although I didn't love it, I am glad I read it. Paula Hawkins' debut novel is a psychological mystery thriller that follows Rachel, a 30-something woman who's life has all but fallen apart. Feeling worthless, Rachel follows the same routine each day without a real point to her life, until she becomes involved in a missing persons case.

Riding the same train each morning and evening, Rachel sees the same couple at their house by the tracks every day. She doesn't know them, but she has made up names and a pretend life for them because they seem like a perfect happy couple to her. When the woman from the house goes missing one day, Rachel feels it is her duty to tell the police what she knows and becomes entangled in the messy case.

People have been comparing The Girl on the Train to Gone Girl, but for me, it didn't get to the same level of intensity until the very end. The Girl on the Train was a great mystery, but it didn't have the psychological thriller aspect that Gone Girl did until the last few chapters when we find out what happened. Gone Girl carried it throughout the whole story, which made it a much more exhilarating read. The other thing that made this book more difficult for me to read was the characters. I couldn't find one who I actually liked or wanted to continue reading about. Rachel was a mess from the beginning, and the fact that she kept making horrible and irrational decisions made me hate her a little bit. That being said, I have to give credit to Hawkins for developing her characters well enough for me to actively dislike them.

Although I didn't love the story itself, I very much liked Hawkins' style of writing. She is one of those authors who can create a detailed story in the midst of beautiful prose, which I think is truly an art. There were several passages worth highlighting, but here is one that I really liked:
Beautiful sunshine, cloudless skies, no one to play with, nothing to do. Living like this, the way I'm living at the moment, is harder in the summer when there is so much daylight, so little cover of darkness, when everyone is out and about, being flagrantly, aggressively happy. It's exhausting, and it makes you feel bad if you're not joining in.
Beautiful, don't you think? Have you read The Girl on the Train? Will you? Share your comments below :)

P.S. Reviews of Crazy Rich Asians, Yes Please, Where'd You Go, Bernadette and #GIRLBOSS

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