Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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“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 really don’t pick up psychological thrillers enough!  I absolutely adore them but I read them so rarely it’s such a shame. However when I saw The Girl on the Train for £6 in Sainsbury’s, I picked it up off the shelf, fell in love with the blurb and then it just so happened to “fall” into the trolley. I mean what a coincidence?!

I love travelling and trains and so the concept of the plot being based around train journeys really fascinated me and I thought the layout of Morning, Afternoon and Evening – all the times when the trains passed – was brilliant! This was emphasised by the alternating character viewpoint in each chapter, we got to understand the minds of Rachel – our protagonist, Megan – our…well I can’t really say, and Anna – the slightly mad and vain mistress turned wife of Rachel’s now ex-husband.  These things really helped in becoming  immersed in the novel.

 Rachel was such a wonderful character in the sense that she was definitely not wonderful. She was damaged,  a little crazy and alcohol dependent. She had a peculiar hobby of creating lives for the couple -who she named Jason and Jess- who she watched from her train journeys every day. Yeh it is as weird as it sounds; but totally feasible when you actually read the book! She developed so far throughout the story and I really ended up rooting for her. Megan I also really liked, for similar reasons. Like Rachel she was a bit broken and showed a very extreme character than we can all relate to ever so slightly – in the sense that we are all struggling to be happy with ourselves and weighing up the choice between staying where we’re comfortable or searching for adventure.

I can’t say much about the plot without giving away a whole load of spoilers so I’ll keep it short. I loved the fact that the ‘crime’ occurred not too early on allowing for characters to be built up and also to create (a whole lot of) suspense! But as soon as our ‘crime’ had taken place we got more action and more secrets that began to come to the surface! Overall it’s very mysterious and extremely clever,  a book I highly recommend! 

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