NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

4+ out of 5 stars - Confabulation..."a memory disturbance, defined as the production of fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world."

I think the best way to enjoy this book is to just read it without having too much information about it. I raced through it in a couple of hours because I just could NOT put it down. Fun. Intense. I would suggest it to anyone who likes to be a little bit uncertain about what is actually going on or someone who likes to think they've figured it all out early. I found it unpredictable and suspenseful and I'm recommending it to thriller fans. Loved the character development and the pacing -- it will definitely make you think!!

Rachel takes the same train to and from London every day. As the scenes beyond her window slide by, she looks longingly at the houses from the signal point where the train often stops. She sees the people who live there from her seat and has started to feel like she knows them and their habits; she tells herself stories about the routines of their lives. One day, however, she sees something disturbing and can't keep it to herself.

Megan and Scott Hipwell live in one of the houses along the train tracks and they are Rachel's favorite couple to watch. They seem so in love...

Then there's Anna and Tom Watson almost next door. They have a new baby and Rachel can see they are a happy family.

What happens when an unreliable narrator has information that could help solve a crime -- if only anyone believed her? And, if what she says she saw is actually true? Rachel, Megan and Anna share narrative point of view as events unfold and lead to a shocking conclusion.

Library Book.
PS This is not a new GONE GIRL. And, actually, I liked this one much better.


  1. Rachel is traveling home from work. It's the end of the week - so she's already cracked open a gin and tonic. "I take another sip, and another; the can is already half empty but it's OK, I have three more in the plastic bad at my feet. It's Friday, so I don't have to feel guilty about drinking on the train." She is immediately intriguing, this narrator, staring from her carriage at the passing houses ("there's something comforting about the sight of strangers safe at home"). Intriguing and lonely. "The weekend stretches out ahead of me, 48 empty hours to fill. I lift the can to my mouth again, but there's not a drop left." Rachel is an alcoholic, living with a "weird" friend, still harassing he ex with aggressive, drunken phone calls. She's prone to blackouts, to embarrassing outbursts she cannot quite remember, to "memories that merge and morph and shift, fooling me into believing that what is, is not, telling me to look one way when really I should be looking another way." And she is utterly miserable. When Rachel sees something she shouldn't have, and when she learns that the woman she called Jess - who is really Megan - has vanished, she is drawn back into the lives of people on Blenheim Road. "Something is wrong," she writes "For as second, I feel as though I'm falling, as though the bed has disappeared from beneath my body. Last night. Something happened. The breath comes sharply into my lungs and I sit up, too quickly, heart racing, head throbbing." With it's narrators and vanished wife, there are Gone Girl comparisons to be made throughout the Novel. But The Girl On The Train, by an author who has lived in London since 1989,gives it a much more British feel. Less dramatic, less psychotic, much more drinking. Also a bitterly honest narrator, aren't really sure we want to know what happened at all. The thriller scene is very well done.
    3.9 out of 5 stars.

  2. I'd love to see a movie of this even though, once read, the twist won't work as well -- but that whole gotcha thing is becoming the norm.