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?
This book has been on my TBR shelf since it first made the New York Times Bestseller list. Considering the fact that it costs about $10 just for the ebook, I was a bit apprehensive about spending that much for an author I had never read before. That is until the Gods of eBook Sales and Impoverished College Students shined down on the reader world and put this book on sale for a limited time. I grabbed it as soon as I could!
I will not lie. The first 20% of the book I was pretty confused. I wasn’t sure exactly where the novel was headed or what exactly was going on. My thoughts were pretty jumbled. However, that did not lessen my interest in the book whatsoever! If anything, it only raised the amount of suspense and intrigue. I ended up finishing the entire book in about a day and a half.
I’m gonna try and give you my review without spoiling anything for you which is not an easy task and you will see why once you read it.
We get three different points of view from Rachel, Megan and Anna. One startling aspect about this novel that surprised me was that you will not view these women as productive citizens of the world or as role models in any way, shape or form. They are incredibly flawed and have a boat load of issues. Let’s sum up these three characters:
Rachel is the main protagonist. She is The girl on the train. She has suffered from alcoholism for several years. She has been fired from her job and basically ostracized from her former friends due to her drinking addiction. Her life is not going anywhere at the time of these events. She’s lost control over many facets and cannot seem to find the strength or the will to get her life back on track (no pun intended). She spends every single day riding the train and wasting time. She likes to see a particular couple on her daily commute who live right by the train tracks. She fantasizes about what their lives must be like until one day she sees something shocking and feels the need to intervene. It was difficult to like Rachel at times because she makes many mistakes throughout the course of the novel. I understand why she did them, but at the same time I wanted so badly to shake her by the shoulders to make her stop spiraling downward.
Megan is one-half of the couple that Rachel likes to watch on her commute. She seems to have the perfect life according to Rachel’s fantasies. She is married to Scott – a handsome man who showers her with affection. However, as the novel progresses we get to see a side of Megan that is filled with the negative consequences from her dark past.
Anna is yet another character that is difficult to like. She is the bitter enemy of Rachel. She is constantly looking for ways to get Rachel out of her life for good. She also happens to be one of the reasons why Rachel is so utterly miserable. Anna was the mistress that helped destroy Rachel’s marriage and is now married to Tom (Rachel’s ex-husband) and lives just a few houses down from Megan and Scott.
On a seemingly normal day, Rachel witnesses events that entwine all of their lives together and will test each of their bonds and sanity.
I don’t think I have ever had so many theories for just one novel in my life! It seemed as if every few pages I was adding a new theory to the mix. I must give Paula credit for being able to successfully keep me on my toes. By the end, I really had no idea who the culprit was and since all of the characters are flawed, it made it even harder to narrow it down.
This book has been repeatedly compared to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Gone Girl is one of my favorite books and I was a bit skeptical that The Girl on the Train would live up to its standards. However, I can completely understand why those comparisons were made now that I have read the book. They do not have the same plot or similar characters, but both books give off a certain vibe. They are both psychological thrillers that will keep you guessing the entire time.
Rating: 5 stars!!
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