Speaking honestly, I wasn’t bothered about reading this book. I’d heard the hype and seen about the new film coming out for it, and thought – it’s not going to be as good as everyone says. So I didn’t make any effort to try and get it. My mother-in-law has it and said that I ‘have to read it’ so was going to maybe borrow it from her some day, but not any time soon.
Then I got it for Christmas from Dan. I love getting books so although it wasn’t one I was bothered about reading, I was pleased to be getting a new book! Ahh, that new book smell. Or that old book smell for that matter.
I finished The Gift by Louise Jensen and was left feeling a little underwhelmed after the love I had had for her first novel The Sister. So I thought, ‘maybe I’ll give this hyped-up one a go and see what all the fuss is about.’ And so I became the girl on the train reading ‘The Girl on the Train’.
How do I describe this book? With sheer difficulty over not giving too much away – that’s how. But let’s give it a go anyway.
Rachel spends her days travelling on the 8.04 from Ashbury to Euston, drinking in parks and wandering the streets before she catches the 17.56 back to Ashbury in the evening.
The same routine every day.
The train always stops at the same signal and overlooks a row of gardens. There she watches the people living their lives, she watches them at number fifteen, and looks away at number twenty three. Her old life was at number twenty three, and although it’s been two years since she’s lived that life, she still pines for it, so has to look away to stop the pain.
But number fifteen, she can look at number fifteen. She dreams about number fifteen and the lives the couple living there have. She knows everything about them, Jess and Scott. Or at least that’s the names she’s given them. She doesn’t really know them; she knows what she has conjured up in her head about them.
So when she sees something she shouldn’t have, it’s up to her to sort it out.
But can she keep herself together enough to find out the truth? The whole truth?
Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out, won’t you.
It’s not a small book so I thought it was going to take me a long while to get through it, but, as it turns out, the hype was right and I found myself drilling through it!
I can’t even exactly explain why I was so caught up in having to keep reading this, because, as eventful as it was, it didn’t feel eventful while I was reading, yet it was so compelling…I know, it doesn’t make sense, all I know is I got lost in this book. So much so that I genuinely almost missed my train stop. My journey is about half an hour long and I could have sworn blind that I hadn’t been on it for five minutes before I looked up, saw that the train was at my stop and was about to leave – I had to practically push the person in the seat next to me – blocking me in – out of my way, and leapt off the train still with the book in my hand! I had to take extra care when reading this after that.
And, it was so well written. It was a dream of a book. It read so simply, elegantly and flawlessly that I didn’t stumble once when reading. Turns out the author was a journalist for fifteen years prior to writing this book, so really it should be perfect – but it was, it really was; and I love it for that alone.
I also loved the fact that the story progressed from three different points of view too, so when I would feel disdain toward one character, I would then be transported to seeing the reasons and the hows and the whys behind that character’s actions, and understand them more; and it would remind me that life and people are never that simple – there’s always more going on behind the eyes. Honestly, it was really well done. It was just when I’d be caught up with something happening to one character at the end of a chapter, a cliff hanger, and then suddenly in the next chapter it would swap to another character, I’d think ‘Nooo! I have to know what’s happening with her!’
Would I recommend The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins? Yes, I think I would. It’s gripping, well written (did I mention that?) and has a kick-ass ending, so yes, if you haven’t read it – like me – ‘because of the hype’, give it a go!
Until next time. x