The Girl On The Train – Book Review

If you haven’t watched the movie nor read the book, read the book first. I’d already watched the movie when I got this book and I won’t say it spoiled it for me, but it certainly took away a huge chunk of the overall experience. Books are generally better than the movie and with good reason too. It’s remarkable how literature can convey emotions and thoughts better than any other medium of communication. I think this is because it tells the whole story while still leaving enough material intangible, to be pictured by the reader, leaving everyone with a unique experience of the same book.

 

One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl… Three for a girl. I’m stuck on three, I just can’t get any further. My head is thick with sounds, my mouth thick with blood. Three for a girl. I can hear the magpies—they’re laughing, mocking me, a raucous cackling. A tiding. Bad tidings. I can see them now, black against the sun. Not the birds, something else. Someone’s coming. Someone is speaking to me. Now look. Now look what you made me do.

Paula Hawkins’s thriller opens with these lines. The pages that follow are bound to keep you up all night. The book follows the events in the life of Rachel, an alcoholic who takes the train to London every day, riding past her old house where she lived with her now ex-husband Tom. Still obsessed with Tom, who still lives there, happily with his new wife Anna, Rachel can’t bear to look at that house and instead focuses on the one a little down the street – number 15.

Number 15 is where Jess and Jason live. Everyday the train rumbles past their house and everyday Rachel sees them living happily in love, a seemingly perfect life. She constructs stories around their lives, even gives them names – Jess and Jason – who are actually Megan and Scott. But what she sees one day shatters that picture of their beautiful lives that she had constructed in her head.

Rachel is an alcoholic and suffers from blackouts and memory loss. When Megan goes missing, the police consider her an unreliable witness so she must pull herself together and try and retrace her steps to remember where she was and what she’d seen. The story unfolds as Rachel slowly comes to the realization that a lot of what she’d believed to be true was actually a lie. The book is written as a narration by three people – Rachel, Megan and Anna. I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone who hasn’t read it yet so I won’t say much else. It is a fantastic read, thrilling and filled with suspense. If you’ve read or watched Gone Girl and liked it (I wouldn’t believe you if you said you didn’t), you are definitely going to enjoy this one.

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