Book review: The Girl on the Train

Summary from Amazon

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

The Great Word Nerd review

This book was riveting. No further description required.

Rachel is someone you don’t want to be. She’s got issues that she’s trying to overcome and a past that continues to haunt her. As a result, she turns to alcohol and lives vicariously through a couple that lives on a hill, who she sees nearly every day through the route her train travels. One day as the train takes its usual journey, she witnesses something about the couple that changes everything, creating ramifications in her own life to an extent she never imagined.

The first few chapters get off to a slow start, and I’d heard so many wonderful things about this book that I was eager to delve in and fly through the pages, completely missing an important detail in my haste: the story is told from the viewpoint of a few different people (so be sure to read the chapter headers to avoid confusion!).

Once you get through those first few chapters though, the story picks up and the plot thickens midway through. I will say that whatever your thoughts and assumptions might be about Rachel during those opening chapters is SURE to change by the end. And the change will be slow, steady yet startling, which earns Paula Hawkins accolades for designing a strong plot that she delivers cleverly through strategic thought.

The story is simply written. No fancy shmansy words or hidden logic. Everything is in plain sight, and the writing style is simplistic and easy to understand.

If you’re hunting for a suspense book that’s got a gripping plot and is sure to quench your hunger for a good read, this is the book you want.

Verdict: 4.5 out of 5

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