Book Review: The Girl on the Train

Monday, 4 May 2015

The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins 

Ever since 'Gone Girl', I've become a little bit addicted to reading 'thriller' novels. As soon as I closed the last page of 'Gone Girl', I promptly picked up my Kindle and preceded to download a selection of thriller books, including 'Before I Go to Sleep' (review here). A few weeks later I couldn't stop hearing about a book called 'The Girl on the Train' that everyone was raving about, so I put my 'to read' list aside and got stuck in to this book instead. 

'The Girl on the Train' follows an alcoholic called Rachel as she makes her journey on the train each day, constantly observing everyone around her. She particularly has a fondness for observing the beautiful 'Jess', as she calls her, who she sees sitting outside her house every day as the train stops at the level crossing. When 'Jess' (who, it turns out, is actually called Megan) goes missing, Rachel sets upon her own detective mission to try and discover what has happened to her. 

I had high hopes for this book - particularly after all the fantastic reviews I'd seen on Amazon - and whilst the book kept me interested for the most part, I didn't find it nearly as gripping as the other books I've read in this genre. I think the whole 'You don't know her, but she knows you' byline made me think that this would be a really sinister story about a girl who knows everyone secrets, and has an evil side to her, but it didn't go down that route at all. 

Considering the book focuses on three female characters, I found it didn't really represent women in the best light. I think the author could have represented these women as strong and independent but instead, it seems as though their lives are ruled by men - which is an aspect of the book I really disliked. 

It didn't have that 'eery', mysterious feel to it, and I found the ending a bit disappointing. That being said, there were some twists and turns in the book that give it some credit, but I think after all the amazing reviews I was expecting something that lived up to them - and this just didn't. 

If you're looking for a book in the same league as 'Gone Girl', this isn't it - but it's still an enjoyable read nonetheless. I'd give it 3/5

Have you read 'The Girl on the Train'? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!