Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Riverhead Books (Penguin)
Time taken to read: 8 days
Goodreads synopsis: 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?
Fun fact: my dad is old. Actually, he’s not that old. He’s still in his early fifties I believe, but he acts like he’s really old, and not on purpose. For instance, when he reads a book, he likes to ask me if I’ve read it, which I usually haven’t, and then he explains the plot. The next time I see him, he’ll explain the plot of the same book. And the next time, he’ll do it again, and so on and so forth. Normally I just let him go on, rather than interrupting him and reminding him of his oldness. The Girl on the Train is one of those books that he told me about multiple times, so I figured I should read it so that the next time he asks me about it, we can actually discuss it.
I’m getting a little tired of mentioning the fact that I hate when books switch perspectives. It actually wasn’t so bad at the beginning, but once I got to the part where it was going back and forth between Rachel and Anna in a scene where they were talking to each other, I started to get confused and annoyed. The worst thing about the writing, though, was the comma splices. First of all, I hate comma splices. They’re like semicolons but even worse. (I hate semicolons.) Second of all, I can stand comma splices when they sort of make sense, like if you actually wouldn’t pause all that much if you were saying the sentences out loud, but they made no sense here. I don’t have the book on me anymore so I can’t give an example, but the author would use comma splices where I would have come to a full stop in even the most colloquial of contexts, and I don’t understand.
As for the actual story, I just wasn’t terribly impressed. I didn’t like any of the characters much at all. I think I liked Anna the most, and she was a real bitch. Everyone in this book seemed rather pathetic, and some were straight-up evil on top of that. The big reveal of who did it was rather boring, and I find it hard to believe that that person would have sat there and admitted it all in the straightforward, story-telling way that they did. In fact, a lot of the author’s dialogue sounded wrong, like it was too poetic to be said out loud. I kept thinking, no one would ever talk like that. I almost gave it three stars because I thought it was interesting enough in the middle, it just didn’t deliver at the end, but then I started to think about how it wasn’t actually all that interesting. Rachel just said the same sh*t over and over about how she couldn’t remember anything, and she wants a drink but she shouldn’t but she’s going to anyway. And the lack of independent women in the book really pisses me off. Every girl was attached to a guy, and everything about them was based off their relationships with those guys, which is honestly pathetic. Zero feminism points.
A lot of people on Goodreads are saying this book is better than Gone Girl, and I want to physically fight those people because Gone Girl is amazing and The Girl on the Train is mediocre at best.