Book Review: The Girl on the Train

January 19, 2016

The Girl on the Train

Paula Hawkins

336 pages

hard copy edition

From the Publisher:

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. 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 offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.


If you know me, you know this is not my typical book, but my sister suggested it to me (she loaned me her library copy) and told me I wouldn’t be able to put it down.  She was SO right.  This book was impossible to put down.  I read this book during the Christmas break (I know – that was a while ago…I have a stack of books I need to review!)  I picked this book on the morning of Christmas Eve and didn’t put it down all day.  When it was time to leave for our family Christmas Eve party I only had 50 pages left!  I seriously thought about skipping the party….or at least being late.  And my husband thought this was pretty comical.  But I grudgingly put the book down and went to the party. The party was fun, it always is, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this book the whole time.  Our family Christmas Eve parties tend to go SUPER late, so by the time we got home, got the kids to bed and waited for Santa to come (wink, wink) it was very early Christmas morning.  I should have got straight to bed because I knew the kids would be up in just a few hours…but what did I do?

I finished the book!

This book was really riveting!  I was able to figure out the ending – so there is a bit of predictability in this book – but it still really made me think and keep reading. This book made me feel like I was passing a crash on the road, I wanted to stop looking, but I couldn’t stop looking.  I really wanted to put this down and say “These people are a huge mess!” But I just couldn’t let it go and had to find out how it ended.

I’m not really sure I could say that the characters were likable.  I’m not sure Hawkins wanted them likable either. Rachel was a mess.  An alcoholic mess.  I really wanted to like her.  And every once in a while I would see glimpse of hope, but then she would be back at her crazy ways two seconds later and I would feel like shaking her!  Maybe I am a bit like Rachel’s roommate – really fed up with her, but always willing to give her one more chance too.

I do have to warn you, if you enjoy a clean book, this is not the book for you.  I review and talk about a lot of clean reads on this blog.  This is NOT one of them. But I really loved the idea and concept of this story.  There is a lot of language in this book.  A lot. Rachel is an alcoholic, who drinks so much she blacks out at times.  The subjects of adultery and sex are also present.  If you are a sensitive reader, this is not the book for you.  I’m not sure they will rate the movie (that comes out later this year) but in my mind it would be rated R, or at least PG-13. It really could go either way, depending on how many F words they clean up and how graphic they make some scenes.  I think if you enjoy Kate Morton, or Liane Moriarty than you might enjoy this book.

Final Score:

(I took off one point because I do believe the language could have been cleaned up bit, but that is my own personal opinion.  Other than that I LOVED this book).

4 stars

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1 Comment

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    My book club read this one a while back, and I liked it, too. I feel a little bit like you though – I didn’t like ANY of the characters, so I was surprised that I enjoyed the book so much. Must be some skill, that Paula Hawkins has. 😉

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