Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. 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 goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?"

My Thoughts:

I finally read this one - or should I say that I finally finished reading this one??  This is one of those books where the hype really put me off reading the book.  Am I the only one that this happens to?  I almost don't want to read a book when I'm hearing too much about it so I wait till the buzz dies down.  I finally picked this one up because the movie was released and all of the trailers reminded me that I wanted to check it out.  So I started it and then......back to the library it went unfinished.  This just wasn't the book for me the first time that I read it.  Rachel was too much for me to take.  She made me want to pull my hair out with all of the crazy (and bad) decisions that she was constantly making.  As much as I was intrigued by what was going on, I couldn't handle her at the time so I just took a break from reading it.

Obviously I went back to this book (or I wouldn't be writing this review lol) and went into reading it a bit more prepared for Rachel.  I started from the beginning and this time my reading experience was so much better.  I think knowing ahead of time how much Rachel might annoy me helped if I am being honest.  And then I hit this point of no return with the book and could not stop reading.  By then I had figured out that this was what the hype was all about because I just could not set this book down.  What worked best about this book for me is that you can never fully trust Rachel due to her alcoholism.  Her memories are completely subject to interpretation - is she really remembering things correctly or is part of what is happening all in her head?  By the end I was completely hooked on this book and ready to read more by this author.  What a change!  This went from a book that I almost DNF'ed to one that I overall enjoyed.  It wasn't my favorite thriller or book but I did enjoy it enough to want to watch the movie. 

My final thoughts on this one are that it is definitely worth the read.  I think that I would have enjoyed it more in the beginning if I had been prepared more on how much I would dislike Rachel.  I do think that this author seems quite talented so I'm excited to read her upcoming book.  It sounds really good so hopefully I won't wait as long to check out.  If I gave out ratings this would probably be a 3.5 star read for me.  Recommended but with a few hesitations.

Bottom Line:  Took me two tries to read this one but overall I thought it was a good read.

Disclosure:  I checked this one out from the library (both times).


  1. I read this one a while ago and have to say that you are being much kinder about it than I managed to be. I came away from it wondering just why it was so hyped and seemed to suddenly be everywhere. It's almost like the book had the best PR plan in the world and no one actually read the book. I think I ended up giving it two stars just because it kept me reading long enough to actually finish it. But I hated the ending and found it so unbelievable that maybe I shouldn't have finished it. Ha.

  2. I saw the movie but did not read the book. Excellent review, Sam!

  3. I read this while all that hype was going on.

    I think the publisher, Riverhead, did a great marketing job for this book, right down to its very clever cover. But, after all that hype, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN disappointed me. Yes, it did keep my attention, but it wasn't as unputdownable as claimed until the last couple of chapters. It wasn't for me.

    The girl on the train, Rachel, is a raging alcoholic who has opinions about people that are often based on nothing and are always wrong. The entire book is about her alcoholic blackouts and figuring out what really happened.

    Some things about this book are aggravating. For instance, during tense moments, characters, especially Rachel, bite their lips, often so hard they draw blood. I could just imagine all the people walking around with bloody mouths they had chewed.

    The biggest aggravation is difficult to describe without saying too much and spoiling the story. It has to do with how everything is explained in the end. It is too hard to swallow.

    Yet, even considering these and other faults, the book did keep my attention. So it gets points for that, I guess.


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