Book Review: The Girl on the Train By Paula Hawkins

“Hollowness: that I understand. I’m starting to believe that there isn’t anything you can do to fix it. That’s what I’ve taken from the therapy sessions: the holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps”

-Paula Hawkins

Rachel Watson is your typical commuter, taking the 8:04 train in the morning heading to work and the 5:56 train heading back home. It takes her train 54 minutes to get to work and an hour and one minute to head back home. For Rachel, this has been a typical routine of her daily life, though one thing that keeps her intrigued is a couple living in a certain house which she can see from the train. Each time the train passes, Rachel gets a quick glimpse of the couple’s lives. Fascinated by the couple, Rachel imagines what names or jobs they might have or simply what lovely life they’ve been living. Till one fateful day where Rachel sees the girl with another man, and was reported missing the next day. Baffled by the recent occurrences, Rachel decides to seek explanation on the girl’s disappearance as she is thrown into a world full of deceit, manipulation and lies.

There are good things to love about this book, the story is intriguing, the pacing is just right and the writing is easy to follow hence making it an easier read. The book starts out just right it’s not overbearing neither is it underwhelming it gives you a simple format, though repetitive there’s enough intrigue to keep going. In the process, you learn about the characters, on who they are, what are they all about and it’s all very interesting at first. Once the disappearance occurs, it becomes a game of whodunnit as everyone’s a suspect and this is where the book’s unpredictability comes into play and it is fun. The mystery kept me hooked and it kept me wanting to read all the way to the end.

The one big major flaw of the book are its characters. As everyone seem to have something nasty to hide, it made the characters unlikable and as a reader made me unsympathetic. I understood that everyone’s got inner demons to face, however none of them have redeeming values making it difficult to relate to anyone. And for a book comprised with mainly female characters, none of them showed admirable characteristics to the point where it felt like the writing of the women was borderline misogynistic. Though there are moments where the book drew out emotions out of me, it wasn’t enough to make me like someone and root for them. There are even moments where a character’s subplot becomes uninteresting mainly because it was difficult to care for them.

Overall this is still a good mystery story, it is well paced and the story itself is intriguing and even if the characters are unlikable the mystery is enough to drive this book on it’s own. Highly recommended for people who love a simple mystery or thriller.

Rating: 3.5/5