The Girl on the Train (By Paula Hawkins): Book Review

The Girl on the Train (By Paula Hawkins): Book Review
February 17 admin

The Girl on the Train catapulted my story-loving brain into addiction mode. I haven’t read a book this fast in years.

Warning: it’s a legitimate page-turner.

A few days ago, when I turned on my Kindle to look for a new read, my eyes instantly locked on The Girl on the Train. I have already seen the movie, and knowing how intense it was (but incredible), I was a bit apprehensive about embarking on that thrilling journey again.

So, of course, I started it right then.

I read anywhere from 20-30% of the book each time I opened the book, so it only took about 4 days to read. I’m telling you, I just could not stop. Whether I was reading from Rachel’s, Anna’s, or Megan’s POV, I had to find out what came next in the horrifying story of a mysterious murder.

I made several mental notes for aspects of this story I loved:

  • The characters are all really, really flawed. Rachel is an alcoholic who hasn’t told her roommate she’s unemployed, her ex-husband isolated her from her community, cheated on her with his current wife (whom he impregnated)…that’s just the start of it.
    This is truly refreshing since many book characters suffer from Mary-Sue Syndrome. Boring characters make even the greatest of stories unrelatable and, well, dull. The Girl on the Train boasts a cast of people who are so realistic and complex that it feels, at times, as if Paula Hawkins is writing about people she knows personally (and very well). She obviously spent a lot of time getting to know the characters, learning their ins and outs, so as a writer I learned a lot from her.
  • Each new segment in the book is a date, sort of like a diary. This can be confusing for the writer and reader at times, but Hawkins executed it very well. Truth be told, I didn’t really pay too much attention to the dates, and I found that I didn’t need to. I was able to create a timeline of events in my head and discern when which chapter took place.
  • Some chapters were explaining the same events from different points of view, and it was done so well that I never had to re-read anything to make sure I wasn’t getting confused.
  • In terms of the plot, I never got bored. As a storyteller, I understand the difficulty of keeping enough exciting things happening so the reader never gets bored, and it is SO HARD.
    About halfway through the book (52-ish%) there was what appeared to be a climax, and I wondered how the story would keep going without getting dull. Hawkins masterfully kept surprises up her sleeve the whole way through.
  • The characters changed as their situations did in a very natural way. This is a subtle detail we don’t consciously pick up on, but it’s what makes the story so believable.

I could go on about the positives, but I’m going to try to keep spoilers out of this review. There wasn’t much I didn’t love about it, but there were a couple of small things I noticed.

  • The chapters that are written in present tense (as thoughts in diary-style) sometimes would jump from one place to another. One minute you’re on a paragraph where Rachel is in a pub, and suddenly in the next sentence, she’s climbing into bed. There wasn’t a transition in several places.
  • At the very end of the story, a character is confessing some things (this is vague to keep out spoilers) and seems to act a little too calm and apathetic. Their confession was a bit too nonchalant as if they were describing the sandwich they ate for lunch. There was something slightly unnatural about their behavior.
  • The book definitely starts out in a sadder, more thoughtful mood, one that we typically associate with being a “slow beginning.” It’s not actually slow—in fact, Rachel’s observations and thoughts are crucial to know as they set the stage for the rest of the book.

I would not hesitate to say that The Girl on the Train was one of the most addicting books I’ve ever read. I wished I hadn’t finished it so fast, but it would have been torture to read it any slower.

Have I convinced you to read it yet? Yeah!

The Girl on the Train is available in whatever format your heart desires. Click here to get it!

I was highly impressed with this story, and I would love to hear what you think about it when you’re finished reading.

Find me on all social media @videmusart and let me know!