Monday, August 3, 2015

The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train
Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publication Date: 1/13/15
Pages: 323
Genre: Thriller / Fiction
How I Found It: Everyone is talking about it...
Date Completed: 7/15/15

Summary: As she looks out the train window every morning and evening on her commute, Rachel gazes into the lives of strangers living on her old street. When the wife of this seemingly happy couple goes missing, Rachel involves herself in the case and quickly ends up in over her head.

What I Thought: Everyone has been talking about this book since its release in January. I have seen quite a few readers and promoters compare it to Gone Girl, a comparison I think is more about success by affiliation than many actual parallels between the novels. Sure, there are a few general connections - a woman goes missing, marriages that seem fine are actually quite unhappy - but, beyond those, the similarities stop. They are simply both popular thrillers written by women.

Maybe it is just that I did not enjoy this book anywhere close to the level I have enjoyed Gillian Flynn's work in the past. This one was fine, but nothing outstandingly special if you ask me. I know this is not typically my genre of choice, so maybe that accounts for part of my ambivalence as well. I just do not normally get excited over thrillers in the same way many people do. So often, they sacrifice good writing and good character development for cheap thrills. 

Hawkins does have some good characters, despite their single-dimensionality. I enjoyed how the lives of her characters intertwined in unexpected ways. I also enjoyed that Hawkins kept things moving. Once the investigation began, it did not really slow down until the end. I was even relatively surprised by the twist ending. I saw it coming a few chapters in advance, but not from the very start, so that's a good sign for a thriller. 

Overall, I feel mediocre about this one. Perhaps the hype surrounding it was too much and, therefore, my expectations were too high before I even began. Regardless, I could not find the irresistible allure that so many have found here in recent months. It's a good book, but not a great one in my opinion. 

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Nope
If You Liked This Try: Gone Girl / Dark Places / Daughter

A Reduced Review: The book that everyone is talking about this year just didn't really do it for me.


  1. I felt the same way. I had heard so much about it by the time I read it that I found it only slightly underwhelming. But different than the kind of books I usually read, which is always nice. Gone Girl had me like gasping and on the edge of my seat and finishing that sucker in one sitting. The Girl on the Train didn't grab me like Gone Girl. I do find myself thinking back to this one, though, as I imagine the lives of other people. It's fun to think about what people might be like without ever speaking to them. But everything in moderation. Poor Rachel.

    1. I definitely loved that Rachel had invented this whole life for the people she saw from the train...particularly when you find out she used to live down the street. I know it was inevitable for all the threads to eventually tie together, but part of me wanted her imaginary story and the "real" one to stay more disconnected.