Release Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Add it: Goodreads
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?
As someone who doesn’t read the blurbs of books before going into them, I am happy to say that my way is the best way to experience The Girl on the Train. I knew next to nothing about the book before I read it, and it meant that I was able to enjoy the book and suspect absolutely everyone, as well as having no clue as to what was going to happen next. Some people have mentioned that the blurb does help you narrow down who the culprit(s) could be, so you have been warned.The Girl on the Train wasn’t the best thriller I have ever read, but it was certainly intriguing and well written for the most part. I was captivated by the mystery pretty early on, and I was excited to play detective to find out who was to blame. In true Amber fashion, I suspected absolutely everyone. And, realistically, it probably could have been any of those characters because so many of them were dark and twisted and creepy.
My main gripe with The Girl on the Train was the portrayal of mental illnesses. While I would agree that diversity and representation are good things, I don’t think that part of the novel was executed very well, particularly because a couple of the characters’ mental illnesses were brushed aside, or even cliché representations at best. There was very little depth for most of these characters, and as a result their mental illnesses weren’t portrayed very well.
I did enjoy reading from the perspectives of the three different women, although I would argue that two of them in particular sounded almost too alike. I liked seeing different sides of the mystery unfold between the different points of view.
The Girl on the Train was an enticing read, but it doesn’t match up to various other thrillers that I have read and enjoyed. I feel like Hawkins tried to pack too much into this book rather than focus on the smaller details, which made many parts of it feel rushed or incomplete. I would still recommend it, especially if you’re looking for an unreliable narrator because that is one of the things that The Girl on the Train does very well.