The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train

 

I got to know about this book through my friend on Twitter.
She said the opinion – whether they like it or not – are divided among her friends who have read the book and she also said she found it a bit difficult to relate to the ‘girl’ who appears in the story.

Little did I know that there would be THREE women – not one – narrating the story, describing what they see, what happens, and what kind of frame of mind they are in from their perspectives.

This is a multi-perspective book. Each chapter is alternatively narrated by either of the three women, Rachel, Megan or Anna (Anna appears in the latter part so the vast majority of the story is narrated by either Rachel or Megan), and their voices are rather distinct. I never got lost who the narrator was which is quite a rarity for me.

As I dug deeper into the story, I understood what my friend meant – I also found it hard to relate to any of the women; they are all horrible, broken and dysfunctional in their own way.
There are some points that I felt uplifting and I could potentially relate to Rachel, for instance, when she tries to remain sober in order to keep her head clear and get down to the bottom of what really happened, but those moments are ephemeral and short-lived; I realized how easily people can fall back into a vicious cycle and not be able to get out of it. I was pretty frustrated by that.

The writing style is simply clever. Although the time frames in which the story is narrated initially differ depending on who the narrator is, they gradually synchronize with each other, just like puzzle pieces falling into place as the story proceeds. I found this pretty impressive.

In addition to that, the character description is pretty depressing yet did leave some impact on me. (Probably because they were all messed up in their lives.) And the change that Rachel undergoes in the end is pretty gripping.

Being naive to psychological thrillers, I could not foresee most of the twists nor could I figure out who the culprit is.
Overall, the message what I think this book is telling you is that nobody can be trusted until you get to know them at a deeper level. You should never be presumptuous by mistakenly assuming that you know someone just because you have witnessed some snippets of his/her life.

The plot is well-written, relatively fast-paced and I thought the ‘whodunit’ element is pretty amazing. It kept me engaged in the story, making me constantly wondering how the story unravels.

If you are into psychological thriller or mystery, it could be a hit-and-miss depending on your taste, but I will recommend you at least give it a try.

 

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