Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Before I get started, I just tell you how much I enjoy fiction?

When I was in college, I read The Greats. The DWMs (Dead White Male). But in an ever-evolving tapestry of genius, I now get to read books that are new and imaginative, written by people from all different places and backgrounds, and that’s awesome. I am so grateful for it.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

The book I’m reviewing today is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

via

If you haven’t read it, no worries. Goodreads has you covered.

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?

I’m pleased to give The Girl on the Train four out of five stars.

The first person to recommend this book to me was my boss, and when I heard people describe it as a great read for fans of Gone Girl, I knew I had to pick it up. But that’s a lie, because Paula Hawkins is no Gillian Flynn.

In her own way, she’s better.

Gillian Flynn is the queen of the mind****. She crafts unlikable characters, and backward plots that are masterful and make no sense at the same time. Paula Hawkins creates suspense within the past rather than the present. She creates one likable and one unlikable character, and gradually forces you to reverse your feelings toward each of them. That takes some serious skill.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s mysterious and emotional, and is so much more interesting because there are gaps in memory rather than gaps in divulgence on the part of the narrator. The book is accessible, but well-written, and keeps you turning pages.

If I were making recommendations (which I guess I am), I would say that this is the perfect book to read when you head to the beach for a few days. It will keep you interested, and it’s got some dark and twisty content, but it’s not heavy, per se. All in all, I would absolutely read another book from Paula Hawkins, and I give this one a positive recommendation.

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