The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
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 wasn’t sure I’d like this book because everyone compared it to Gone Girl, which I hated. But I really liked this book! A lot. My main complaint with Gone Girl was that all of the characters were so awful. I didn’t connect with anyone. Right away I liked both Rachel and Megan.
Rachel is an alcoholic. She’s very unhappy. Her marriage ended two years ago, and she still isn’t over it. She calls her ex-husband all the time. I just felt bad for her. And I wanted her life to turn around. She is an observer. She watches the houses from the train window from her daily commute, and she makes up lives for the people she sees. A couple, whom she names “Jason” and “Jess”, live a few houses down from her old house. And they seem to have the perfect life.
Megan, Rachel’s “Jess”, has failed as an art gallery owner. She’s trying to figure out what to do with herself. She’s very lonely as well. Her life isn’t anything like the life Rachel has imagined for her.
The book is told in alternating chapters from Rachel’s and Megan’s points of view. Rachel’s story starts a little before Megan goes missing. Megan’s story begins about a year earlier. All days are broken into “morning” and “evening” segments based on the train schedule. I loved the multiple narrators, and I found the structure of the chapters to work very well for this story.
Once Megan goes missing, Rachel gets herself involved in the investigation. She was there on the night Megan disappeared, but she cannot remember anything because she blacked out from drinking. She’s desperate to find out what happened, to her and to Megan that night. In her loneliness, she also just wants to make a connection and help Scott, Megan’s husband.
I was sucked right into the story. I also needed to know what happened. This book had me guessing right up until the end. It was a terrific suspense story that was very well executed. I found myself routing for both Megan and Rachel. It was a very enjoyable read.
My Rating: 4 Stars
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