Friday, 16 January 2015
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Published on 15 January 2015
Published by Randomhouse, Transworld
Purchase from Amazon here
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…
Have you got your drinks and snacks ready? Taken the phone of the hook? Got yourself in a comfy position? if not....do it before you start reading The Girl on the Train, because once you start reading you will not want to put it down!
I hate to make comparisons, but if you liked Before I Go To Sleep then this is definitely a book you are going to love. I found it a totally gripping and tense thriller that had me literally on the edge of my seat.
I have seen lots of talk about The Girl on the Train being the big book of the year, and lots of hype about it. This usually scares me as I feel I am being set up with such anticipation that I can only be let down. I'm so pleased to say this wasn't the case this time. It is going to take a special thriller to beat this one. How to review it without giving anything away is going to be a challenge, but I will give it a go!
The Girl is Rachel. She travels to and from London every day, and like many of us spends her journey staring out the window imagining other people's lives. During her journey Rachel travels past the house she used to share with her ex husband. The train often stops at signals but she finds it too painful to look at their old house and relive old memories. So instead she looks at a house a few doors away, where a couple who she names Jess and Jason appear to live in marital bliss. She builds up this image of how loved up and happy they are each day.
One day Rachel is shocked to see something happen when she is passing the house on her daily commute. A while later Jess, or her real name Megan, goes missing. Rachel takes a strong interest in the case and believes she knows what may have happened. Bit by bit Rachel becomes more entwined in the life of Megan's husband Scott and her disappearance.
The one problem is that Rachel has a drink problem. She drinks every day and suffers from memory loss as well, so how reliable are her memories and will anyone take her seriously if she tells them what she saw?
We also get to see alot of her ex-husband Tom and his new wife Anna. There is clearly no love lost between Rachel and Anna, and it seems with her drinking and inability to let go, that Rachel makes life seem quite uncomfortable for Anna in particular.
I love that the book is broken down with each chapter being written by one of the three main characters. We get to see what is happening not only from Rachel's view, but also from Megan and Anna's. This was such a clever idea and built up a much clearer view for me of not only what events were taking place, but the impact these events had on each of the characters. Their back stories were fascinating too.
As a reader I like to care about the characters, and if I'm honest, when I started reading I couldn't imagine ever liking Rachel. A heavy drinker who appeared to not really care about anyone but herself, and seemingly unfazed about the problems caused by her drinking, or her actions. But as the story developed I found myself strangely warming to her. Yes, she is a flawed character, but she also felt vulnerable and I felt like I wanted to sit her down and have a stern chat with her. Infact, I am not sure that I particularly liked any of the characters until towards the end as more emerges about them.
That's part of the beauty of the book for me. It is so skillfully written that even though I didnt care about, or root for any character in particular I was totally mesmerised by the story being told. It was all consuming to the point where it was playing on my mind as I slept and I was trying to solve the mystery in my sleep (it didn't help that I had also watched a double bill of Sherlock before bed so was playing detective whilst being Benedict Cumberbatch!)
I cannot possibly tell you any more about the storyline as it would ruin one of the best thrillers I have read in a long long time. But I guarantee you will be thrown at every twist and turn. Every time I thought I had it sussed I was wrong.
I felt a bit smug that I figured it all out just before it was revealed, but even then I didn't switch off as there was more drama ahead. It is literally filled with action and suspense right up until the end. I was exhausted by the time I turned the last page and put it down.
I thought I had read somewhere that the rights to the book have been bought by a film company. This only intensified the book for me as in my head I played the parts and directed the scenes. I think it will be a massive box office hit!
The Girl on the Train is totally absorbing and will keep you up long into the night trying to work out what happened. I loved it and will be buying copies for my friends and family. I cant stop telling people to get a copy and get reading. I want to have people to discuss it with, but have to keep silent until they have read it too.
It's only January and this is already a candidate for book of the year for me. Thank you to Paula Hawkinsfor starting off my year with such a bang! A very talented author who I am looking forward to reading lots more from.