Review: The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train
By Paula Hawkins
(Riverhead Hardcover, Hardcover, 9781594633669, January 2015, 336pp.)

*No Spoilers*

The Short of It:

A nosy woman on the train witnesses something odd and decides to look into it further.

The Rest of It:

This book is a lot of fun. Lots of page turning, plenty of twists and a classic unreliable narrator. Good stuff.

Rachel is an alcoholic and has lost her job. She rides the train all day to keep her roommate from knowing that she’s now unemployed. Her train happens to pass by the house she once owned with her husband, Tom. Tom is now married to Anna and they live happily in what was once her home. Rachel’s train ride through London is often spent tipping a bottle back. Seeing her old home and sometimes even catching a glimpse of the other woman, is enough to make her drink and drink she does. So much so, that what she sees is often not remembered later.

That memory thing becomes a problem early on.

Yes. It. Does.

Rachel’s daily observances include a couple that she’s come to know as Jess and Jason, names she’s made up to give them substance. She watches them interacting on the balcony of their apartment, and she’s dreamed up a back story for them. But when Jess does something out of character for her, and then a crime is committed, Rachel takes it upon herself to investigate.

As you can imagine, things get out of hand. Rachel sticks her nose into their lives and in the process, ends up involving her ex-husband and his wife. Both, really want nothing to do with Rachel but out of obligation, aware of Rachel’s raging alcoholism, Tom tries to look out for her when he can, which infuriates Anna.

Tension mounts as the story unfolds and when you get to those last few chapters, you can’t help but turn the kids away, let your dinner burn, etc. The ending needs to be read uninterrupted. Don’t tell me that I didn’t warn you.

But, honestly, Rachel’s antics were a little tiring. Just when I started to grow bored with her, some critical piece of info would surface and then I’d be flipping pages again. I suppose that’s a sign of true suspense because there was no way I was going to put the book down. I knew that from the start. Does it deserve the hype? Yes, I think so. If you pick it up for pure fun, you will enjoy it quite a bit. If you pick it apart and compare it to other books, you might find fault with some of it but really, who has the time for that?

Read it, because it’s fun and it’s a great distraction from all the crap going on in the world today.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

30 thoughts on “Review: The Girl on the Train”

    1. The wait list at my library was like way way long so I broke down and bought the Kindle version for a mere $6. I felt like I had to read it sooner rather than later because I just knew someone was going to spoil the ending for me.


    1. I think I read this one too at a good time. I needed the distraction of a good page turner and that’s what it is.


  1. OK, so you know what I love? Your “short of it” – “a nosy woman…”. LOL

    I think you nailed it with your review. And the further I get from reading it, the more I like it. Does that make sense? I’ll be watching for what Paula Hawkins writes next. She was good enough to make me anticipate and I guess that is point. Right? Nice job, Ti!

  2. Ti, how are you? How’s the Murakami going? I was thinking of dipping into one of short story books – his writing seems to suit my mood lately. As for this Train book, I’ve been reading this one at the gym. I’m almost getting toward the end and am already speculating who Tom really is. Rachel gets on my nerves as well. Then again Scott seems like he is capable of murder as well. Ack! Of course, I’m hooked and can’t wait til the end to find out what really happened to Megan and who is responsible. Glad you enjoyed this one 🙂

    1. I was doing better until I poked my eye with my hair brush this morning! Serious eye pain but I don’t see anything wrong.

      I finished South of the Border, West of the Sun. It was really good. Maybe right up there with my faves Kafka and Wind-up. The whole death theme fit my mood pretty well. It was a tad sad but not too sad, you know? A good book to make you think.

      Girl on the Train, that Rachel! I got tired of her drunk escapades but at the same time, I can see why the whole situation drove her to drink. I thought the pacing was pretty good. Plus, I can see how something like that could really happen. I see the same people every day on my commute to work and I sometimes wonder about the people I see.


    1. I’m cautious of overly hyped books but this one was well done. I did not like Gone Girl. It was too much and way over the top ridiculous, IMO. Too many red herrings. Too many ridiculous twists but I give it credit for being a page turner. I felt the story was ridiculous. This one, I could actually see happening.


  3. I did not read GONE GIRL. On purpose. But I have read THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN. I totally enjoyed it. Unputdownable. There were times I found Rachel tiring, however, they did not last long. I really enjoyed reading your review.

    1. I agree. I think the author did a good job of knowing when the reader might need a break from Rachel and her antics because as soon as I tired of her, I was right on board with the story again.


  4. Glad you got to read this. Rachel was annoying, but then by the end I liked that she started to grow on me once again LOL

  5. Since I keep seeing it compared to Gone Girl I’m leery. I loved Gone Girl and don’t necessarily want a repeat.

    1. It’s not like Gone Girl except that a girl goes missing. I think you would like it.


  6. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. You know I wasn’t a fan but I do love when someone is able to enjoy a book I couldn’t. You definitely needed a distraction this week.

  7. I have this one in my TBR but I’ve been hesitant because I’ve seen so many reviews now where it just didn’t seem to measure up to people’s expectations. Mind you, I think that might have been because of all the Gone Girl comparisons. I like what you said about reading it for pure fun – I love reading for pure fun! So I’m probably going to pick up this one sooner rather than later.

  8. Sometimes we just need a nice distraction from the world. Hope you’re doing well. I’m looking forward to this one…but not immediately. Though maybe I need to go ahead and read it before I see some accidental spoilers! Glad you enjoyed it.

  9. I have been reading so many fun reviews of this book that I ran out and bought it. It will be up next on my list after I finish the one I am reading right now!

  10. I’d do the same thing with Rachel, start to get bored. But alcoholics do start to get boring. I love how this one just started off with something off key and with Hawkins throwing these little clues, some of the turning out to be red herrings but letting you know that nothing is what it seems.

  11. Yeah I think you convinced me. I should have taken this book to Palm Springs. I needed a page-turner by the pool!

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