Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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Published: 2015

My co-worker mentioned that she was reading The Girl on the Train during one of our conversations and it sounded interesting so I thought I would look into it. I did some research on it before I bought it and I was quite surprised at how much attention it’s been getting. In fact, apparently it’s been top of USA’s bestseller chart for over 13 weeks and Dreamworks has bought the rights to produce a movie.

The similarities between this book and Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl are undeniable, both are psychological thrillers that not only keep you on the edge of your seat but also allow you to observe how people cope in difficult situations. I think the reason why they felt so similar is because the authors made the characters sound so real and relatable. They were far from perfect, instead the main characters were fraught with many psychological issues, but they lived in very realistic conditions that I am sure many people could relate to. The fact that it was based in London was particularly interesting to me, as it’s a place I’ve been to several times so I can image the setting well.

I think the similarities end there between the two books though (Paula Hawkins has stated that she actually used The Girl on the Train as a working title long before reading Gone Girl). I say this because the main characters are very different, and therefore, handle each problem and event very differently. Amy from Gone Girl is a very astute and crafty woman. She’s highly intelligent, and the planning and masterminding that she took the time to plot out was quite astonishing. Rachel, on the other hand, is very much a polar opposite. She’s a divorced, unemployed, unhappy alcoholic who defies planning and thinking in general. Instead she feels unmotivated, sporadic and depressed. When we meet her she is a shattered woman, who has given up on her life completely.

The plot of the book I think could have been a little bit better. I found the build-up/intro to the main characters took a little too long. Also, I really struggled to sympathize with Rachel. What happened in her life was sad, but seeing her throw her life away and just drink alcohol on every page got a little repetitive. I think it could have moved a bit quicker. Also, despite her problems, I didn’t like how she was handling her life and so wasn’t as attracted to her character.

The other flaw in the novel, was the man hating that was going on. It safe to say that 90% of the men in the book had either anger management issues, psychotic behaviour or were cheaters. I supposed only the red-haired man that help Rachel was the beacon of light, but even he seemed to have a drinking problem and didn’t actually help her in the end. Thought that was very negative and the fact that I became aware of it wasn’t a positive.

Lastly, it was interesting how the many of the main characters had similar qualities, but to me they seemed like the same person. I suppose this may have been because they all had very similar men in their lives, but I wasn’t quite convinced by it.

In conclusion, I found the book very thrilling and I was desperate to know what happened next. I would definitely recommend reading it, especially if you have enjoyed Gone Girl. Also, I found this interesting article written about the book that I would recommend reading through if you are interested in the book!

Did you read this book yet? If so what did you think? Send over links to your reviews!

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

  1. Great review and great picture. Don’t sweat the man hating, we’re all kind of like that, anger issues, psychotic behavior, etc. Ha! Anyhow, in my review I re-titled this book as Drunk Girl on the Train. The author tweeted back that she actually called her “drunk girl” until coming up with a proper name.

    • HA HA! That is is such an apt title for the book! It got a little overwhelming for me personally, but I supposed it shed light on alcoholism, something I can’t say I know much about. Could you pass along the link to your review? Would love to see your thoughts!

  2. My daughter is listening to The Girl on the Train but it’s taking her forever to finish it. She said it started out good but then got boring. She’s still trying to stick with it though.

    • Thanks for the comment cozynookbks! I have to completely agree with your daughter, how old is she may I ask? It definitely captured my attention the first few chapters, but then she just gets more sloppy, more depressed and crazy about 1/4 through the book, it does get better but I agree ,there is definitely a slow period!

      • When she started listening she was all excited. But then not long after she wasn’t mentioning it so I asked her about it and that’s when she told me it wasn’t holding her attention as much. She’s 25, soon to be 26.

      • Yeah, she must me in the more subdued part, the author really likes to point out that she’s an alcoholic and isn’t going anywhere in her life, I think that is the slow part in the novel. Hopefully, she keeps going as the end is pretty intense!

  3. I have been wanting to read this book for ages now; hopefully I will be able to soon! Although there is such a hype around The Girl In The Train that I’m afraid I will end up being disappointed like with Gone Girl…

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Yvo! You were disappointed with Gone Girl? Oh no! That’s is not a good sign for this book I am not going to lie! There is a period in this book that is quite slow as well, that you sort of have to push through before it gets better again. Maybe since you didn’t like Gone Girl and are more aware of this hype that will not raise any expectations for you? I’ll be looking out for your Teaser and review of this book in the future!

      • Hopefully it will help me start reading The Girl On The Train will lower expectations… I will try to start it this week and I’m keeping my fingers crossed I will enjoy it! 🙂

  4. I had heard nothing but good about this book; everyone seems to be reading it. Your review introduces some negativity, which I like because no book is perfect. I will get around to reading it eventually.

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