The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

To be published January 2015


‘Gripping, enthralling – a top-notch thriller and a compulsive read’ S J WATSON, bestselling author of Before I Go To Sleep

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…

My thoughts

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for my review copy.

During the summer, there was a great deal of talk on twitter about this book. I was intrigued and wanted to see if it matched the positive praise.

The story introduces us to Rachel, a rather sad lonely woman, who commutes daily to London. She spends her time people watching the familiar strangers around her, both on the train and en route. Rachel observes one couple in particular, living by the side of the railway track in domestic bliss. She makes up names for them, Jason and Jess. One day she sees something suspicious happen. It is impossible to say much more without giving the plot away. Suffice to say, Rachel finds herself playing the part of Miss Marple and noseying in other peoples’s affairs.

Rachel is quite an interesting character, struggling with so many things. I still found it difficult to warm to her or to follow her thoughts. She was very contradictory and frequently lied or misled the people in her life. Initially she held my attention, with her behaviour on the train and her obsession with Jason and Jess. She had a great deal of problems, including alcoholism, dealing with the after effects of abandonment, childlessness and feeling lonely. When we see Rachel reaching for the bottle to deal with a crisis or with memory holes due to blackouts, I struggled to sympathise. I felt like as a main character, I should have cared more for her. We meet her ex-husband and his new family.

For me, this was a fairly average thriller, with an overly female voice. We heard from three women, in the novel and they all were all pretty obnoxious, self absorbed liars. Not one of them seemed to have much of a moral compass and I found them all dull. For me, the strongest part of the novel was the beginning with the wonderful familiar descriptions of commuting and Rachel’s strange inner world of obsession.

I think that people with either love this one or like me find it a bit too feminized and dull.





About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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3 Responses to The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

  1. crimeworm says:

    I’ve had this to read for a bit and thought it sounded interesting (I’m desperately trying to get through the last of my 2014 books before I leap into 2015’s selection…!) but now I’m not so sure, although I’ll probably read it anyway, so we can see how our thoughts compare…It can be difficult to enjoy a book with an unsympathetic lead character can’t it – you don’t invest in caring for them the same do you?

  2. Christine says:

    I tried avoiding the 2015 ones, but gave in!

    I think it depends on the skill of the author. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you don’t really like the characters. You get rewarded as a reader by the action, humour or storyline. Other times you switch off, if you can’t relate to them. I really tried with this one to work out why I was bored and disengaged.

    You have to read it to let me know if you like it!

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