Author: Paula Hawkins
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Source: personal purchase
Summary from 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?
It's only partway through January, and already I feel like this book has more hype than any novel can handle in 2015. ERRRR-BODY is reading The Girl on the Train right now, people! I had a credit on my Amazon account and couldn't help jumping on the bandwagon for this one, because yes--it gets compared to Gone Girl pretty much non-stop. Check the reviews on Goodreads--almost every single reviewer mentions it.
I don't like to write a review that constantly compares the book in question to a previous read...but I'm going to do it anyway here, because my reading experience was absolutely influenced by the fact that so many people made the Gone Girl comparison.
There are, admittedly, a lot of similarities. If you liked the unreliable narrators in Gone Girl, you get a bonus in Girl on the Train, because there's three of them. And they are all kinds of batsh*t crazy. One is a massively insecure, unemployed, raging alcoholic. Another is a woman with a mysterious past who has recently gone missing. And then you have the housewife whose constant paranoia leaves every one of her chapters thick with anxiety. Yup, if you want a story where you're never sure who's telling the truth, then winner winner chicken dinner right here. Plus, none of the narrators are quite what they seem--your interpretation of these three very different women is guaranteed to change by the time you reach the end.
The other big similarity? The suspense. Once you get going with this novel, you better clear your schedule. The narrators weave quite a spectacular tale, and once you get wrapped up in it, you'll whip through chapters wanting to know what's next. I FLEW through this book, and I don't fly through a lot of books these days. The story is dark, sinister, and twisted in many ways, and will leave you with the same sort of unsettled feeling that you probably got from that Gillian Flynn novel.**
I will say that one significant difference for me was in the ending. At the end of Gone Girl, I felt like the ending was perfection--not just the actual events involved, but the tone as well. (I know not everyone agrees with me on this, NOTED.) The Girl on the Train was different. I saw the conclusion coming a lot sooner than I wanted to--I had figured out the "whodunit" quite a while before the book got around to revealing it, which was a little disappointing. And I found the culprit's frank demeanor about the whole situation to be rather odd.
That said, I wouldn't say the ending ruined the novel for me as a whole. The suspense in this book really can't be beat, and that alone makes the reading experience worth it. Plus, despite being a little predictable for me, I will say the ending keeps with the dark nature of the rest of the book, so it felt fitting even if it wasn't especially surprising.
Final verdict: despite feeling so-so about the ending, I think the hype around this book is well-deserved. If you want a truly engrossing read, get yourself on that 138-person wait list for The Girl on the Train at your local library, like ASAP.
Who's read this highly-hyped novel already? What did you think (no spoilers please!)? If you haven't read it, do you think you'll be giving in to the hype and trying it anytime soon?
**Without giving spoilers, I would like to mention that the death of a young child plays a role in this book. It is not gory, but it was difficult for me to read when I came upon it unexpectedly, and I felt it would be helpful to include this trigger warning for other readers.