Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Penguin Gets On The Train with the Girl

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  I am getting ready to go overseas to Europe for six weeks so I guess that is why I am drawn to bicycles as in Anne Mustoe (previous post) and now The Girl on the Train.  Trains, planes, motorbikes, bicycles even horses.  All of these appeal because I have not been off this island. When one lives on an island it is important to get off and see something new. I am ready.

There has been so much hype around this book that I was put off for quite a long time in reading it. But having read a little synopsis about it I knew that I would probably enjoy it.

This book is Paula Hawkin's first thriller type book.  It is the story of three women. Megan, Anna and Rachel.  Rachel is an alcoholic whose husband Tom took up with Anna and she lost her marriage. She now drinks too much, living in a room in her friend's house not too far from Tom and Anna.

Each chapter rotates between the three women and the tale is told from their point of view. I always enjoy this format for the most part and it was no different here.  Megan who lives a few doors down from Tom and Anna goes missing one night. Rachel is in the area stalking Tom and Anna at the same time and is blacked out drunk.  Things happen all at once. But she has no memory of it. Rachel is interested in Megan as she sees her from the train window every morning. But the fantasy is no where near the reality.

I won't say anything more because I don't want to spoil it.

I found the story very good. It kept my interest and I found I read it in two sittings, the last being too late into the night. I cared about all of the women and I wanted to see what happened to them.

I found the actual writing to be a bit uneven in places but as I enjoyed the characters so much I ignored this.  I don't think this is a great piece of literature but an evening's entertainment and better than some of the television series I watch.  I could see this book easily becoming a movie. I would go see it if it did.

It takes place on the outskirts of London in a quaint suburb but for the life of me I could not get the Melbourne suburbs out of my head. The whole book took place in Melbourne in my mind. I could see the descriptions matching the suburbs I have ridden through on Melbourne trains.  It was very clear in my head.

I thought all of the characters were developed quite fully with perhaps Megan's character being a bit of the weakest.  There were a few red herrings tossed in to the story I didn't think were needed but they did add another layer of suspense in regards to who disposed of Megan. Or did they?

It was an enjoyable read, I didn't have to think much and as I usually spot the ending, I didn't in this story. I always like it when I am taken by surprise.

I think Paula Hawkins can only get better in her next attempt at thriller fiction and I will certainly pick her next book

up, crawl into bed with my dogs and my hot drink and enjoy an evening's entertainment without much hassle.


  1. Lots of hype about this one in the UK and, like you, I've found it a bit off-putting, and I'm not absolutely sure I would like it - I don't read a lot of thrillers or crime fiction. But you make it sound interesting, so maybe I'll give it a try.

    1. It is more of a psychological thriller than anything gory and focuses more on the personalities of the people involved. Not at all scary. My husband is reading it now and he came in late last night and told me he had to turn off the light but he couldn't put the book down yet. Made me laugh.

  2. While I didn't love this book, I liked it a whole lot more than Gone Girl. The pages kept turning while Inread becuase Inwas quite caught up in the story, and I wasn't sure what to expect next. I began to suspect who was the crazy one before it was finally revealed. But I didn't feel manipulated with Hawkins' writing like I did with Flynn's. In fact, I began to feel sympathetic toward our poor, alcoholic narrator.

    1. I agree totally. I could not finish Gone Girl though I did see the film. I read Girl on the Train quickly and I really liked Rachel a lot and felt bad for her. Though she made some silly decisions. I thought it was a fun read and certainly kept me entertained. I didn't pick the crazy husband. Usually I work things out but this one got me. Brain lag I guess. Good to hear from you.

  3. I'm sorry I've been so long between comments...everywhere! I really feel I need to get back to interacting as I once did; no excuse, but evenings have been busy with Humphrey the puppy. And soon I'll be out of school for Summer.xo

    1. You do what you can. Friends always understand. Life is busy. I am sure you will be happy to be out of school for the summer. I always thought that that was the best of time of the year. Seems it was only yesterday here you were sweltering in September heat in your classroom.


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