I originally chose ‘The Girl on the Train’ to read due to it’s various comparisons with ‘Gone Girl’ – a book I absolutely adored. Written by Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train is a psychological thriller set in Suburban London. I really enjoyed it – (I never finish a book if I don’t like it), but in hindsight my expectations were set a tad too high. It’s not as clever as Gone Girl, and due to the hype I was expecting it to blow my mind… Which it didn’t. But it’s still definitely worth a read, and for a weekend read it’s perfect.
The story is told by three separate but intertwined females. Normally, I find myself instantly bonded to and empathising with the narrator(s) of a book. These three however are totally unrelatable, and subsequently it took me quite a while to get sucked in by the plot. The first couple of chapters are quite slow… Which isn’t exactly what you’re looking for from a thriller. However, it does pick up speed and towards the end I was literally bombing through the pages looking for answers.
I found it to be more of a character study than a murder mystery. The heroine, Rachel, is a self-loathing alcoholic who finds redemption via solving a crime. I found the characters in general a bit embarrassing, in that all three females are incredibly weak. They’re obsessed with having babies and their lives revolve around men.
On a side note – one (very small!) topic throughout the book which I found fascinating, was an explanation of alcohol blackouts (not to be confused with passing out, i.e: the person is very much still conscious and liable for their actions). One theory mentioned is that past a certain intoxication point, the drinker’s brain is not actually experiencing any emotions/events at all, and therefore cannot make any memories to recall the following day. That in a way, the person is frozen in time. I’m not sure how valid this theory is, (and I’m not even quite sure why I found it so interesting!) but I’m definitely going to research this a little bit more.
I also enjoyed the whole ‘Trust Nobody’ aspect of the book. Do we ever know what people are truly capable of? There’s a definite lesson to be learned throughout – Nobody’s life is as idyllic as it appears to the outsider peering in. Everyone is flawed. And do you know all the people that know you?! Do you ever feel like you’re being watched?!…