Title: The Girl On The Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Original Publication: January 2015
Publisher: Transworld Publishers
Opening Line: “She’s buried beneath a silver birch tree, down towards the old train tracks, her grave marked with a cairn.”
Closing Line: “And I have to get up early tomorrow morning, to catch the train.”
Hype surrounding certain titles is nothing new, and ‘The Girl on the Train’ was undoubtedly one of those hyped titles that so many people were talking about. After working in a library for the past year or so, I can say that with confidence as I think about the massive queue there was for this title. It was a book I’d heard quite a lot about, without actually really knowing what it was about but thought I would give it a go anyway.
After receiving it as a present on my last birthday, I can say that I actually did enjoy the novel. It did have a bit of a slow start and took awhile to get into it. However, it hit a point in the middle where I just had to know what happened next – one of my favourite qualities in a book! I think it certainly earns its place as a page turner and I read the second half of the book much quicker than the first.
The book features an unreliable narrator, which can be incredibly disconcerting as a reader but can also make things very interesting, as you are not 100% about what’s going on and I found myself gravitating towards different characters throughout the novel. My opinion of the protagonist Rachel changed several times over the course of the novel but on the whole I did feel quite a bit of sympathy for her. Frustration and exasperation as well, but ultimately I felt very sorry for her. I can see how others might not like her as a character, but I had a soft spot for her and wanted things to go her way.
I did twig about roughly what was going to happen, or rather what had happened, just before the end of the book, but it did keep me guessing up until the final couple of chapters. It reminded me a little bit of ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ by SJ Watson as I wasn’t really sure what to believe or who to trust, which ultimately makes for an interesting read.
On the whole, I did really enjoy the novel as it was an enjoyable and gripping read with an interesting protagonist. I think hyped books often fail to live up to people’s expectations, but I would recommend giving this one a go. You may not think much of it, but you could surprise yourself as I found it a pretty decent read. I’ve been told quite bad things about the movie adaptation. I’m not 100% how it would translate to the screen as a lot of the book’s positive qualities stem from what’s going on inside Rachel’s head, but I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve actually seen it!
Some Questions To Think About After Reading The Book:
- Do you think that ‘hype’ around novels like this affect your reading of the book?
- What did you make of the main characters in this book?
- How did you find the pacing of the novel?
- Did you feel any sympathy with Rachel?
- Would the novel change your perception of those who are considered strange, odd or dangerous by society?
For the record, I am actually on a train in this photo, on my way to work (note the purple shirt)! 😉
P.S. Here’s my music choice for this post: Perfect Illusion by Lady Gaga! Absolutely love this song – enjoy! 🙂