The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Crime
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: 15 January 2015
Pages: 316
Rating: 2/5 stars

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To everyone else in this carriage I must look normal; I’m doing exactly what they do: commuting to work, making appointments, ticking things off lists.

Just goes to show.


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 so much more than just the girl on the train…

This is being called the new ‘Gone Girl’ in most circles, but I honestly don’t see it. ‘The Girl on the Train’ was, to be completely frank, very boring. The pacing wasn’t there, the story was boring and our protagonist, Rachel, was unlikeable, mostly because she was so negative and obsessive about her old life.

Rachel is obsessed with a couple who live behind the train line. What we also learn is that this couple live a few doors down from the house Rachel used to share with Tom, her ex-husband. Tom now lives in the same house with his new wife and their baby. Already a pretty weird situation going on here, right?

The girl from the couple Rachel watches, whom she has dubbed ‘Jess’, but who is actually called Megan, goes missing. Rachel had seen her kissing a strange man a little while beforehand and becomes convinced that he is involved. However, Rachel is an alcoholic and her evidence is dismissed by the police. She also has fuzzy memories of being in the area when Megan went missing, a night when she ended up with a massive bruise on her head.

While there is some suspense and a psychopathic person, the book was just boring and the end wasn’t exciting, nor predictable, just a bit bleugh. That was how I felt about the whole book – bleugh.

The perspective was confusing as well – we heard the story from Rachel, from Megan and from Anna. Their stories are based in different times (Rachel is the present, Megan the past, and Anna is just random intersections) but their intersection just made the whole thing a bit confusing…. The blurb was also misleading – I expected to hear only from Rachel. Anna gets a voice right near the end and it wasn’t a great mesh with the rest of the story. Megan’s story was all the way through and therefore I got used to it.

I am not a big crime thriller reader but I really enjoyed ‘Gone Girl’ and JK Rowling/Robert Galbraith’s ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ from this genre, which is why I thought I would give this one a go. I was severely disappointed after reading it, but I will persevere with the genre as I am sure there are better stories out there. I would be interested to hear what others think about this book in particular and the crime thriller genre in general. What were your feelings about this book? Does it deserve to be compared to ‘Gone Girl’? And is it a good example of the crime thriller genre?


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