Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


It’s a thriller like no other; The Girl on the Train has been the prime subject of conversation in bookshops now for a good year – and I have only just picked it up and read it! It was worth the wait however. It was a fast-paced journey through a unique murder, told in several perspectives. It has met the standards, if not exceeded the likes of Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn) in my opinion. I heard a lot about this book before I got round to reading it, but now I’ve read it, I’m actually quite surprised I didn’t hear more about it.

The main character is a woman called Rachel – a majority of the story is told from her point of view. At first, she seemed totally unrelatable to me. She is an alcoholic and her relationship has just broke down. Also, more prominently, she is obsessed with a couple who live a few doors down from where she used to live – she watches them from the train every day on her way to work and she gets caught up in their lives. She even gives them names: Jess and Jason. She thinks that they have the ideal life, which is ironic, because they certainly don’t!

Especially when Jess (or in reality – Megan) goes mysteriously missing. And Rachel thinks she has a key piece of information. What she saw, she thinks could solve the case. She saw Megan with another man.

Rachel meets up with Megan’s husband, Scott, who is prime suspect in the case and lies about how she knew Megan. In reality, she only knew her from seeing her from the train, but she ties in her relationship with Megan, from the missing woman’s life – claiming she met her in galleries and stuff and was quite close to her. When Scott finds out that these were all lies, he is understandably angry. But his change in mood threw me a bit and I, as a reader, started to suspect him a little more.

In the meantime, Rachel is still having trouble adjusting to life as a single lady. She has quite an obsessive personality, taking into account her daily ritual of staring at Megan and Scott out of the train window, and she is the same with her ex husband, Tom, and his new wife Anna. She is constantly bothering them and harassing them with phone calls and demands to meet up.

All the relationships in this book admittedly confused me a little – especially as it switches perspectives between three women throughout the course of the novel: Rachel’s point of view, Anna’s and Megan’s. However, if you pay attention to who is narrating what, it’s a fairly easy book to follow, in my opinion.

Such a gripping book and I like how the author left it to the last few chapters to reveal everything (a very surprising outcome). I don’t like it when authors reveal what happened three quarters of the way through and then go on to describe the uninteresting aftermath… All in all, it was a thoroughly gripping and compelling read – a proper page-turner and it really gets the reader thinking. I had some late nights reading this – several chapters had some very interesting cliff-hangers which compelled me to read on and on and see what happens!


2 thoughts on “Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

  1. Ron Hervey says:

    Great review. I thought it had a great plot and the pace was good. As you said, a lot of the book was so compelling that I wanted to read on to see what happened. My only gripe with the book is that I couldn’t feel sympathy for Rachel. I have read other stories with the alcoholic angle that worked, but even though I tried, I couldn’t like the character.

    Liked by 1 person

    • poppyonkirrinisland says:

      Thanks Ron! Yes, I do understand what you mean, there certainly isn’t much sympathy for Rachel. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂


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