Book Review | The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

1I feel like enough people have read The Girl on the Train that I could reasonably spoil it but I also feel like I’m a pretty nice person so I won’t. You’re welcome!

Essentially, this book is about an alcoholic woman who can’t piece together her life. Due to a series of confusing situations and conflicting information in her life, she starts trying to piece together a local mystery. It’s all very tense and scary and I stayed up past two in the morning several nights in a row to find out what was going to happen. As a tense, oh-my-goodness-what’s-going-to-happen-next! book it was top notch. The pacing was excellent – though it constantly aggravated me because I wanted to know what the hell was going on! But, that was the point, see?

The story was told from the perspective of three different characters with chapters breaking up the different points of view. This format worked smashingly for me and I appreciated the various ways in which the author gave the reader information.

As a recovering alcoholic, much of this book was difficult to read. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an author do such a masterful job of capturing that feeling I’ve experienced way too many times of waking up from an extended blackout with no idea what happened but an overwhelming feeling of dread. Knowing I’d done something stupid, terrible, embarrassing, etc. and fighting both to remember and to forget. Looking for my phone, checking my email, etc. to try and piece together what I’d done the night before. I’ve been sober for years but reading this character’s experiences brought me right back to those bad old days.

Though I did give this book five stars, it wasn’t perfect for me. While the writing was good, this is definitely a plot-driven book – actually, it’s a “whodunnit”-driven book. Unfortunately, I guessed  whodunnit about 1/4 of the way through the book and then as more and more evidence piled up to support my theory, I just kept thinking, “No, no, she’s tricking me, it can’t be ____.” So yes, I was a bit disappointed in the end but I loved the process of getting there.

2 thoughts on “Book Review | The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

  1. I think I’m one of the only people who really didn’t like this book! I just couldn’t like the characters enough to bring myself to care what happened to them. But I’m also an avid reader of epic fantasy so I’m used to a long series with lots of time for character development. Glad you liked it though!!

    • Oh, they were all terrible – I agree! And yes, though I don’t read fantasy much, character development is generally my top priority. It’s rare for me to read a book like this – that’s really just totally driven by plot because certainly these characters were pretty stagnant – and I honestly hadn’t even thought about that. Which is strange! So thanks for bringing that up.

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