|Thanks to Penguin’s First to Read program for allowing me to read Paula Hawkins’s début novel, “The Girl on the Train”, a wonderful and fast paced read that follows the lives of three women: Rachel is a drunken divorcee who is having a hard time reconciling the end of her marriage with the fact that her husband has not only moved on with a new wife but with a small child while living in the house they once lived in together. As Rachel commutes to and from work in London she passes by not only he Thanks to Penguin’s First to Read program for allowing me to read Paula Hawkins’s début novel, “The Girl on the Train”, a wonderful and fast paced read that follows the lives of three women: Rachel is a drunken divorcee who is having a hard time reconciling the end of her marriage with the fact that her husband has not only moved on with a new wife but with a small child while living in the house they once lived in together. As Rachel commutes to and from work in London she passes by not only her former house but that of a young couple a couple doors down whom she has created a make believe world around in which they are happily married and named Jess and James; Megan is the woman who unbeknownst to her is referred to as Jess by Rachel from the train, although Megan loves her husband she is not content in her marriage and thus has entered into an affair prior to her mysterious disappearance; Anna is the woman who’s Rachel’s ex-husband left her for, a woman who is constantly haunted by Rachel who refuses to let them live in peace and who once hired Megan to be a nanny to her daughter.Although I enjoyed reading Ms. Hawkins’s book, for it was both well written as well as engaging from beginning to end, I found that I had a hard time liking any of the characters. At various points throughout I felt sorry for Rachel and the fact that she had not learned to cope with the end of her marriage and thus was trying to do so by drinking all the time; but, at the same time I also found Rachel to be both pathetic and overly needed. I hated how following the disappearance of Megan, Rachel made a point of inserting herself into the life of Megan’s husband all because she had seen Megan once kiss a man who was not her husband while riding the train. As the story continued though I returned to feeling sorry for Rachel for she was a woman who woke up one day to find her life ripped out from underneath her without completely understanding why, she was a woman who tried to do the right thing and only ended up being manipulated by those she thought she could trust.
The character of Megan was another tragic character for she also had experienced horrible things in her past which greatly impacted her in her current life. As Megan shared more of the tragedies in her past, I really felt sorry for her and became even more intrigued about why she disappeared, if she just ran away or was killed, and if she was killed who did it and why?
Anna, Rachel’s replacement, I just did not like one bit or feel sorry for like I did the other two women. I found Anna to be a conniving home wrecker with no sense of remorse or regret for the fact that she had happily ended a marriage. I felt that it was only fitting that Rachel was constantly around and in the picture ruining her perfect little life and family since she had ruined Rachel’s first. It wasn’t until the end of the book when Anna finally did, what in my opinion was the first good thing she did the entire story, that I stopped loathing Anna as a character.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and I understand why it has been referred to as a Hitchcockian thriller, for while reading it I couldn’t help but picture Rachel as a female version of Jimmy Stewart’s L. B. ‘Jeff’ Jefferies from Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”, only instead of being laid up in bed with a broken leg watching the neighbors from her apartment window, Rachel is a woman who passes by the same stretch of houses on a daily basis as she commutes to and from London. For fans of Hitchcock’s psychological thrillers this is a must read.