In the lead up to release of the movie, I’ve been asked a lot lately for my opinion of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins; whether it will be worth watching and if the book should be read beforehand (always!). It might have been over a year since I first discovered the story myself, but I am as excited writing this review as I was the moment I finished the last page.
The Girl on the Train is a psychological thriller based around Rachel, who takes the commuter train each day and night. As she travels along, she passes the backyards of many houses and ultimately becomes infatuated with a couple whom she names Jess and Jason. One day, she sees something which shocks her and reports it to the police. Soon, she becomes embroiled in something she really doesn’t want to be part of.
Firstly, I will say that, upon its release, this book garnered much comparison to Gone Girl. I, unfortunately, began reading with this comparison in mind and expected to be shocked and thrilled at every chapter. Don’t do this. Embrace the story with a clean slate and an open mind. The Girl on the Train shouldn’t be compared to any other book; it is a magnificent piece on its own.
The story is uncomplicated, the prose is easy to follow and the use of three separate narrators just adds to the suspense. Although, don’t expect to form a bond with any of the narrators – each character in this novel was as unlikable as the next! The story was unpredictable and was plotted very precisely. I pinpointed my suspects throughout, but I was never 100% able to guess the ending.
I think The Girl on the Train has been so popular as it appealed to the nastier, nosier part of all of us. Through the characters, we are able to act on impulse, judge others based on very little information and discover the most hidden secrets – all things we are forced to repeal in reality. Reading this book is a good way to indulge your dark side.
Overall, this is a must read, either before or after you see the movie. Gripping and original, it won’t take you much time to finish, but will give you a lot to think about afterwards.