I don’t usually pick up psychological thrillers but I was going through a bit of a reading slump and was looking for something to pull me out of it. I can’t deny that another factor for picking up this book was that I saw the film was coming out starring Emily Blunt, who I love. The trailer really intrigued me so I thought I would read the book first. I always like to read the book before seeing the movie version, if I think I’ll like the story.
I found The Girl on the Train to be an easy read and moved at a good pace so I read it quite quickly. I enjoyed the plot, it kept me interested, despite the fact that it wasn’t as thrilling or tense as I’d thought it would be. This story follows Rachel, who has lost everything, her husband, her home and her job, though she continues to catch the train every day to keep up the pretence of going to work and still having her life together. She creates a fantasy about a couple she sees from the train, imagining them as the perfect couple and having everything Rachel wishes she did. When the woman, Megan, goes missing, Rachel becomes entangled in the mystery and the lives of others.
I liked that the main character was somewhat unreliable, so you could never be quite sure that her perspective of events was accurate. The story is narrated by three different women in the book, Rachel, Megan and Anna, telling different parts of the story, both past and present. The each add their own insights into the story as a whole, but I found them to also be fairly unlikable for the most part.
You can’t help but feel somewhat sympathetic towards Rachel, she’s having a hard time coping with life at the moment, and it seems like everything is against her. Megan is the woman that Rachel has been watching from the train, to Rachel it seems Megan is a woman who has it all, but when reading Megan’s chapters, you learn that she is actually quite a troubled woman and her life is far from perfect. Anna is Rachel’s husband’s new wife, and you discover that she was having an affair with Rachel’s husband, Tom, while they were married and ultimately he left Rachel for Anna. Anna now has a young child with Tom, and we learn that Rachel was not able to have a baby. Both Megan and Anna are women who have what Rachel wants, or at least thats how she perceives it.
I have to say that I did find the ending to be disappointing. I felt like it happened too quickly and the reveal of what actually happened turned out to be pretty cliché. It perhaps was not as shocking as it had been intended to be and I feel like most people will guess the truth before it’s revealed. But it was good in the sense that you felt like Rachel was finally able to move on with her life following the conclusion to the mystery behind Megan’s disappearance.
When the movie came out I went to see it with a friend who had also read the book. It ran pretty close to the book, though they changed the setting from being in the UK to the US. I did enjoy the film in much the same way as the book. The actors were well cast I thought and represented the characters well. I think the film did a good job of capturing the feel of the book, it’s mood was dark and hopeless, with Rachel’s grey wardrobe representing the lack of anything happy in her life.
Overall, while this book isn’t amazing, I still enjoyed the story itself. Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train was an easy and fast book to read that helped me get out of a bit of a reading slump.