It was pitched as the new Gone Girl so expectations were high and with plot twists and turns right from the start the comparison isn’t surprising. But does new novel The Girl on the train, live up to the hype?
Paula Hawkins’ crime novel is her first thriller after 15 years of journalism. The story starts with Rachel a girl who takes the same commuter train journey every day. Each day the train stops at the same signal and Rachel daydreams about the seemingly perfect couple that live in the house that the train tracks overlook. I’m sure you can imagine, as events unfold, we learn that Jess and Jason are not the perfect couple that Rachel has conjured up in her head. But is Rachel even all that she seems to be?
The story unfolds from the perspective of three characters, Rachel, Anna and Megan, and as we learn more about each girl we also learn how they are all connected. At the start it’s hard to like troubled and lost Rachel whose life seems to be spiralling beyond her own control but as the book progresses you grow to understand and sympathise with how she became who she is now.
The Girl on the Train is a well written page turner. It’s entertaining and keeps you guessing as to who is the culprit behind the crime that threads through the book. The comparisons to Gone Girl are probably a bit of a double edged sword for Hawkins as it immediately makes the reader look out for plot twists and clues before they’ve even emerged. If this book had come out before Gone Girl I think I would have been surprised by the outcome but reading it with a post Gone Girl head on you can see quite early on who the surprise culprit is.
There are talks of a movie adaptation like Gone Girl (above)
I certainly enjoyed The Girl on the Train and whipped through it in a lazy weekend but it lacks the darkness of Gone Girl and I didn’t feel the need to force others to read it just so I could talk about it with them. I enjoyed the originality of the story and how a seemingly unconnected passerby gets sucked into a dangerous situation because of a fantasy about a perfect couple she doesn’t even know. Perhaps the real magic of this book is that we all have the potential to be the girl on the train.