During my Christmas holidays, I picked up the novel The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Other than it was a popular title and was made into a movie, I didn’t know much about this book when I started reading it. Described as a psychological thriller, the novel seemed promising at first.
We begin with meeting one of the main characters, Rachel Watson, who is traveling on a train. With her own life in shambles, Rachel creates a perfect, imaginary life for a couple she sees everyday through the train window. But when the woman from this couple goes missing, Rachel decides to make her messy life even messier by helping to solve the mystery. The plot unfolds not only through the voice of Rachel, but two more female characters; Megan, the woman who has gone missing, and Anna, Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife.
The novel’s timeline takes place in both the past and the present. In some cases, the same event will be described by more than one woman, giving the reader multiple perspectives on what happened.
This writing style creates a suspenseful atmosphere and leads the reader to wonder who can be trusted. As dark secrets begin to surface and we learn more about the characters, including Megan’s husband Scott and Rachel’s ex-husband Tom, our first impressions begin to change (the characters are not exactly who we think they were) and we start to see how everything is connected.
The Girl on the Train is a fast moving novel. However, half way through, the story seemed to drag on, the characters’ actions were a little repetitive and the conclusion to who committed the crime became predictable. Though overall, Hawkins novel was interesting, and dark, and had enough action and surprises to keep the reader turning pages.