Book Review: ‘The Girl on the Train’ by Paula Hawkins


Title: The Girl on the Train

Published: 5th May 2016

Publisher: Black Swan

Author: Paula Hawkins


Twitter: @PaulaHWrites


Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…


Goes down as another off my 2016 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book that became a movie. Have to say it was the trailer for the film that got me excited about this story. When I found out it was a book first I wanted to read it before watching to see if it would make a difference which way round I did it to see which I liked more. So here goes.

One story told through the eyes of three very different women – Rachel, Megan and Anna. Only Rachel and Anna’s stories are told from the present time. Megan’s start a year before present day and slowly helps fill in the blanks while you get ever closer & closer to the last point that Rachel saw her.

Rachel has been in a downward spiral for the past few years after her divorce. Not surprising really with her ex husband marrying and having a baby with the woman he cheated on her with. This along with personal problems with not being able to get pregnant at the time she was still married caused her to turn to drink. Gin and tonic her drink of choice but anything will do really. Its when she drinks heavily though that she tends to have black outs. These black outs could help her figure a few things out from her past but it’s not just the booze making her forget. It’s more her minds way of protecting her from what she isn’t ready to face yet. As a coping mechanism for her wayward life she started to create a picture of a perfect couple from two people she saw every morning on the way into London to work. The train she gets daily slows down enough for her to look out and imagine what their life must be like. A life she longs to live and thought she had just a few doors down from where she looks. It appears she likes to torture herself with looking though because one moment she will see ‘Jess and Jason’ and the next she sees the home and life she lost through her actions – or were they? You get a feeling quite early on that everything is not as it seems. Its on one of these mornings that she sees something that distresses her enough to get off the train at the station near her old home because it shatters her idealised view of the perfect couple. Jess kissing another man; she can’t believe she has betrayed Jason so longs to confront her but fear and booze keep her away. She later wakes back at her place (well her friends place she is still currently renting a room from) having no recollection how she got home or why she would be covered in vomit, piss, blood and mud. She starts to question whether she could have done something bad or if something was done to her. When she finds out in the news the day after that ‘Jess’ real name Megan has gone missing she starts to question what might have happened. She vows to get to the bottom of it to help ‘Jason’ aka Scott as she knows he will be blamed first but the moment she goes down this rabbit hole everything starts to unravel. Secrets get revealed and nothing will be the same again.

Anna seemingly got everything that she ever wanted – a nice husband, new baby and lovely house. It’s just a shame she had to go after a married man in the first place to get it and still finds herself under the shadow of Tom’s ex Rachel with being in their old house. Which just so happens to have a train line that goes past daily, one she knows Rachel uses daily to get to work. She is constantly on edge when she hears it and lives in fear that Rachel will do something again while drunk to disrupt her ‘happy life’. She knows Rachel is a bitter drunk who will always come between her and Tom no matter what she does. She is so busy looking at the wrong person she doesn’t see what is really happening. She may want to look a little closer to home because history might soon be repeating itself.

Megan is a very lost soul. We view her life in a series of flash backs from the year before to present day. All the pieces slowly falling together to give you a heads up as to who might have killed her. Her past has some dark turns and you get the impression that she has been running from it for a while. When things start going right, seemingly mundane, she likes to destroy it. Mainly by having an affair or two. You are convinced that it’s the therapist, someone Rachel suspects too, but can’t be sure. Her mystery man is someone who likes to fantasize about a better life but seems just as stuck as she is. She wants a change and change is coming, just not what she hoped. A confrontation leads to disaster and when others find out they too become linked in a battle of wills. Who will see it through to the end? The women may seem weak and defeated to start with throughout but near the end they show their backbones – which is good thing as their lives depend on it.

Suspenseful thriller that will keep you second guessing yourself even after you are sure you know how its all going to play out. Now lets see how the film turned out


4 out of 5 stars

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Filed under Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts, Thriller and Suspense

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