BLURB: Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one the houses. Their life – as she sees it- is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking, and in one moment everything changes. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see: she’s much more than just the girl on the train… – Black Swan, Penguin Random House
REVIEW: Apologies for the haggard copy, I managed to pick this one up at a charity shop, the first time I’d seen The Girl on the Train in one which I think says something about this very popular book! I’ve been wary for a long time about reading this mighty bestseller as I didn’t want to be disappointed. I tend to try not to read very popular books until their hype has died down a little (or as the case often is with me, I find them before they’re massive). So this has been a read that’s a long time coming.
Our protagonist is Rachel, a woman in her early thirties who has undergone a debilitating breakup, leaving her a shell of her former self. Finding herself lost, alone and bitter, Rachel seeks something more than the life she is currently living and displaces the happy life she once dreamed for herself onto a couple she spots from her daily commute on the train. The epitome of the unreliable narrator, the reader is often left in the lurch as to whether anything we’re reading is close to the truth or not. I found Rachel an enjoyable, yet frustrating, character to read. Her weaknesses are completely on display and it can sometimes be unnerving to read such a flawed character at every turn.
The mystery aspect of the novel was quite fun, and for the first half of The Girl on the Train my guesses to the solution were plentiful and ever-changing. Then halfway through I guessed the ultimate guess, I had a hunch and it payed off and subsequently found that I was not at all surprised by the conclusion. As you can see, I’m being very vague about this, just in case there are others out there who still haven’t read this book, I don’t want to be the one to spoil it for you!
This book really reminded me of Broadchurch, I’m not entirely sure why, I suppose it’s just the multitudes of suspects and uncertainty wrought throughout. I did find this book riddled with cliched plot points and characterisations, which got on my nerves at times. But I think there were enough twists in there, and fast-paced writing, for me to find it very enjoyable. I mean, I read it in a day, that’s how into the book I was! Overall I think The Girl on the Train deserves a rating of four stars, it may not be completely innovative in its themes and characters, but it’s still a grippingly, well-written novel that lived up to its eponymous bestseller status.