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Tea & Book Chat: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

In addition to all the online hype I’ve heard about The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, I’ve also been hearing it from the girls at my lunch table at work.  Because of a combination of their raving (and my freaking out about spoilers when they all started speculating), the fear of missing out and a mild interest I decided to read it as quickly as possible.  The Girl on the Train follows an alcoholic named Rachel who spends the majority of her time on the train and becomes entangled in a mystery when a woman goes missing.  It’s best to go into the story knowing as little as possible so you can watch the clues unfold before your eyes.

The Girl on the Train is a quick paced read (I read it in about 2 days without having a ton of free time) and the story is very intriguing.  I’m a sucker for novels that force me to analyze clues and try to solve the mystery at hand.  I had my suspicions and I was not disappointed with the end result.  A lot of the hype I’ve heard has compared the book to Gone Girl which I haven’t read, so I cannot speak to that, but I can say that The Girl on the Train is a psychologically thrilling story.


My one major quip with The Girl on the Train is that it was hard for me to read from Rachel’s point of view.  Because she’s an alcoholic, she’s an extremely unreliable narrator and that made it challenging for me to believe her accounts of different situations.  It’s also hard to read about someone who is so self destructive.  Alcoholism is a serious issue and I know it’s not easy for those afflicted with it to just stop drinking, but as a sober person witnessing Rachel’s choices, it made me really sad for her.  She recounts some of her nights and the cringe-worthy decisions she’s made regarding drinking, but she just keeps doing it anyway.  As I was reading, I realized there were no characters in the book that I related to at all (which is totally okay!) but I wouldn’t want to know any of them in real life either.

Final ThoughtsThe Girl on the Train is a psychological thriller about a girl on a train who becomes involved with the mystery of a missing woman.  It deals with certain issues such as alcoholism which makes it challenging to read at times and leaves the reader with a very unreliable narrator.

Rating 3

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories. (via Goodreads)


2 Responses to “Tea & Book Chat: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins”

  1. I totally agree with your review… The characters were all pretty unlikeable and it was hard for me to enjoy the book because of it. I did like trying to figure out “who did it” though, because I kept changing my mind, lol. I have read Gone Girl, and I enjoyed it much more than The Girl on the Train.

  2. I’ve been super curious about this one. This review is incredibly helpful!
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