The Girl on the Train [Book Review]

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From the Penguin Random House Website

 

Three women, three men, connected through marriage or infidelity. Each is to blame for something. But only one is a killer in this nail-biting, stealthy psychological thriller about human frailty and obsession.

The Girl on the Train was plastered all over my social media feeds for weeks on end. I heard about how jarring and intense it was, how it was the next Gone Girl, how it made its readers uneasy and perhaps a little paranoid, and I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. I asked Aliya from Random House of Canada what all the hype was about. Instead of telling me, she graciously sent me a copy to find out for myself.

Although the novel started off slowly, and I found myself making excuses to not pick it up, last Saturday I could not put it down. It begins with Rachel, a raging alcoholic with so many issues the reader cannot keep up. She’s sitting on the train in the morning and looking out at the houses she passes. There is one house in particular that she’s fond of. Every day and every night she sees a couple emerge from their house, onto their terrace. She wonders about them, she makes up names from them, as well as, identities. This, to me at least, is harmless. When I interned at Random House nearly two years ago, I did the same thing. I’d make up stories about my fellow subway riders, the only difference is that I wasn’t obsessed by it or by them.

But I digress. The action in the novel begins when Rachel notices someone different in the home/terrace of her favourite couple. The next day the woman (whom she named Jess) disappears. It seems that all of the action in this novel comes out of nowhere. You don’t know who to trust, you’re sure everyone is connected but not exactly sure how. You’re edgy and confused like a deer in headlights. I swallowed the last hundred and fifty pages or so in one gulp, unable to tear myself away from the book until I reached the very end. Did I love the book? I’m not sure. Was it entertaining? Yes. Did it keep me guessing? Yes. Did it make me uneasy? Yes. Would I recommend it ? Yes.

“Clever and compelling. Hawkins keeps the tension ratcheted high in this thoroughly engrossing tale of intersecting strangers and intimate betrayals. Kept me guessing until the very end!’
—Lisa Gardner, author of Fear Nothing

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

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