I decided to step a bit out of my comfort zone this month, and requested a copy of The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins for review from Random House Canada. I’m usually not much of a suspense fan, but the buzz surrounding this book had me curious and I just couldn’t resist! While I thought the story started out a bit slowly, I soon became intrigued by the plot, and I really wanted to find out how everything would come together in the end!
The story focuses on Rachel, an alcoholic who has recently lost her job. In order to maintain the appearance of still going to work to her roommate, Rachel continues to take the commuter train into the city every day. Along the way the train makes a regular stop outside a stretch of suburban homes, and Rachel quickly becomes entranced by a young couple that she sees breakfasting in their garden every morning.
She begins to imagine what their lives must be like to the point where she feels like she actually knows them. In her mind, “Jason” is a doctor who lovingly makes breakfast for his artist wife “Jess,” and the happy couple spends their weekends together going for runs and traveling to romantic destinations. Her imaginary world is shaken, however, when she witnesses something in the garden that is both shocking and devastating. Should she go to the police? Or take matters into her own hands? The result is a Hitchcockian suspense that will have you speeding through the pages.
As I mentioned earlier, The Girl On The Train didn’t get off to the best start for me. Not only did it take a while for the main action of the plot to get rolling, but I also found Rachel to be a very unlikable character. Her alcoholism and self-destructive personality made her very irritating at times and difficult to relate to. As the book picked up momentum, however, I became more invested in the plot, and surprisingly found myself both liking and sympathizing with Rachel by the end!
Many people have compared The Girl On the Train to Gillian Flynn’s blockbuster novel Gone Girl. As I’ve never read Gone Girl myself (I know..shocking!), I can’t attest to the two books being similar, but the story did remind me a lot of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movies! Like Hitchcock’s films, I was able to piece together the mystery of the story by about the middle of the book, but there was still tension and suspense surrounding how everything would come together in the end.
The Bottom Line: Overall, despite the slow start The Girl On the Train was an enjoyable read. Suspense isn’t usually my cup of tea, but this book did keep me interested! Give it a try if you love mysteries, thrillers, or you’re a fan of Hitchcock’s films!