Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review of The Girl on the Train

Paula Hawkins' debut novel The Girl on the Train just reached the mark of one million copies sold.  One could say it is a runaway hit that has really picked up steam (okay, I'll stop now).

Title character Rachel takes the same commuter train every day, keeping up appearances to her roommate after she is fired from her job.  The train regularly stops in front of a house inhabited by a couple on whom Rachel fixates.  She views their life as perfect.  At the same time, she is haunted by her old life and failed marriage.  She regularly numbs her emotions with alcohol and has a hard time moving on.

One day, from the train, Rachel sees the woman she calls "Jess" (whose real name is Megan) kissing a man who is not her husband, and then the following day she goes missing.  Rachel offers what she knows to police, and gets entangled in the investigation.

The plot will keep you guessing the whole way through.  How many readers will guess what is behind Megan's disappearance?  I was certainly taken by surprise.

The characters are neither well developed nor likable.  This flaw does not matter a great deal, though, as the suspense story is the driving force of the novel.

Why is the book a giant sensation, the one that everyone wants to read?  The success of Gone Girl and the marketing of this book to its fans has something to do with it.  Luckily, The Girl on the Train is decently written and keeps you on the edge of your seat.  Though not high literature or even particularly book discussion worthy, it is entertaining.

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