The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. 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 goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Song For This Book: I Can’t Stop Drinking About You by Bebe Rexha


I had found this book at a used book shop, and picked it up because it had been getting so much buzz, what with the movie coming out and all. I finally picked it up last weekend and dove into it, curious to see what all the commotion was about.

I honestly could have read this book in one sitting if not for the fact that eating, sleeping, and other commitments required attendance. There were so many elements at play, and so much to keep track of that it sucked you in and left you wanting to get back to it as soon as you’d set it down to do something else. It was not without its faults, but most of them didn’t take too much away from the story you were busy obsessing about.

I am a little mad at myself for not figuring out who the killer was earlier. I had it by the middle of the book, but looking back, I thought I should have caught it earlier on. Hindsight being 20/20 and all, it is very obvious when you go back and look at each character and what they were doing at the beginning of the book.

The Good Points of The Girl on the Train:

There are three separate narrators telling their sides of this story, and not one of them is in a state to be telling you anything. Unreliable narrators can be hit or miss, with a lot of them just seeming ridiculous. But this was fantastic, and frustrating, and everything else a good story with an unreliable narrator should be.

The psychology in this book is well researched and well done. Having background as a therapist, there is always the worry when going into a psychological thriller that it’s going to be the pop culture version of psychology. But this was well done, and accurate to what you should see in real life versions of the situations the characters find themselves in. The depiction of the personalities and struggles is absolutely beautiful.

This partly goes back to my last point about the well-researched psychology, but the characterization is fantastic. This book wouldn’t work if the characters were driving the whole thing. The best part is that you not only get to know the characters through their own voice and story, but you get to see them from the perspectives of other characters, making this one heck of an adventure through character development.

The pacing as a general is fantastic. The mystery is revealed piece by piece, just giving you enough to keep you hooked without giving away the whole story from the beginning.

The Downsides of The Girl on the Train:

I did feel as though this book could have been shorter. I found there were more scenes than necessary that revolved around Rachel’s drinking. We know she’s an alcoholic. We don’t need multiple scenes with her talking about how she is an alcoholic. We know. I promise.

I wanted more from the ending. With so much build up and such incredible characters, the ending just fell a bit flat. And I’m not saying this because I figured it out earlier (study psychology and watch/read a lot of mysteries and you get to that point). After everything else that had happened and the way characters were dove into, I just wanted more than the simple, easy result that was provided.

All in all, a great read that I highly recommend, especially if you love finding out about the motivations that drive characters and how they see the world. I won’t make any comparisons to Gone Girl, because I haven’t read that one yet. Now to watch the movie and see if it looks anything like that book did!

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

5 thoughts on “The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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