I’ve seen various reviews, most very positive, and after a while I started to wonder if this was going to be one of those over-hyped books that isn’t worth of its excessive publicity. Would I read it expecting too much?
Turns out I needn’t have worried – it was flippin’ brilliant!
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?
The story starts with Rachael, who takes the same train to and back from London every day. The train often stops at signals outside the back of some houses, and Rachael looks into their gardens and thinks about the people living there and what they might be doing. One day she sees something that shocks her which she can’t stop thinking about, and she then begins to investigate, with dangerous consequences.
The story is told from several perspectives (Rachael, Anna and Megan’s), and jumps forwards and backwards in time before the ‘event’ in question and afterwards too. In some novels this can be a little hard to keep track of, but keep an eye on the name and date and it should all makes sense without too much confusion!
I didn’t really expect The Girl on the Train to be written particularly well because it it’s been so popular and written about a great deal, and also because it’s classed as a ‘thriller’ and that sometimes (but not always, of course) means fast-paced and exciting but also slightly trashy and ridiculous. I know that’s a stupid assumption but there you go! When I actually started the novel, however, I soon realised it was really well written. Hawkins describes the lonely, strange world of Rachael’s so convincingly that you sometimes feel like you’re really stuck in her desperate life too. The characters were well developed and interesting and the story moved along at a really good pace, keeping me guessing until the final few chapters.
I don’t really want to give much away but I will just say, if you’re unsure whether it’s worth buying/ borrowing/ stealing (perhaps don’t steal!), I would say it really is! I really didn’t want this novel to end and barely put it down. I just wish it had been longer- that’s my only ‘criticism’!
Have you read The Girl On The Train? What did you think?