Published by Transworld on January 15th 2015
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A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.
The Girl on the Train was, no doubt, a seriously entertaining read. I read it over the course of a week so while not “unputdownable”, I was still fairly enthralled. Time has passed though and my feelings about the book are lukewarm at best. Perhaps the fact that it was one of the most hyped books of last year, took some of the gloss off it as expectations were sky high but for me it just wasn’t as good as I expected it to be.
Rachel rides the train into London every morning. She picks a particular carriage so that when the train stops at a crossing road, she looks directly into the backyard of Scott and Megan, old neighbours of hers. She never actually met the couple but she imagines what their life is like. When Megan disappears, Rachel becomes obsessed with the case, determined to solve the mystery and in doing so, inserts herself into Megan’s life, establishing an unhealthy relationship with her husband Scott. All the while, battling alcoholism and borderline harassing her ex-husband Tom and his “charming” new wife Anna.
Rubbernecking at what the neighbours are up to is a time honoured tradition, we all have *that* one neighbour (some of us probably are them! Eep) but The Girl on the Train shows us what can happen when the curiosity turns into all-out voyeurism and downright obsession.
Despite her less than impressive habits, I did have a lot of sympathy for Rachel. She found herself in a very lonely and sad position, with nothing to look forward to bar this small glimpse at a seemingly perfect couple. The kind of couple she wished her and Tom could have been. It’s understandable how she felt a connection with them. I also liked how Rachel was portrayed as the imperfect character. Hawkins doesn’t attempt to redeem her so the reader can form their own opinions on her.
I think the book was ultimately let down by the soapy ending, it was all a bit too sensationalised and while Gone Girl managed to pull it off, TGOTT slightly missed the mark.
Overall, the story is undeniably readable but it just wasn’t all I expected it to be…