PLOT - Rachel Watson is a divorced alcoholic, who pretends to go to work every day on the train, to keep hidden from her roommate that she has lost her job. The train route passes by Rachel's former home, where her ex-husband, Tom, lives with his new wife, Anna, and their baby. Rachel is still in love with Tom, but during her train trips she begins to fantasize about Tom's neighbors, a seemingly perfect young couple who has recently move into the neighborhood. She catches glimpses of them as the train rushes by their home. When the wife, Megan Hipwell, goes missing, Rachel believes that she might have clues to help solve the case. She may have been the last person who saw Megan alive, but on the same day, Rachel blacked out from drinking, making her witness account completely unreliable. Does Rachel hold the key to Megan's disappearance? Will anyone believe her?
LIKE- Hawkins' The Girl on the Train has been a bestselling novel that I keep hearing about and I finally thought that I had better hurry up and read it, before the film version is released this fall. It gained comparisons to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. Gone Girl it isn't, but The Girl on the Train does have similarities with regard to an incredibly unreliable narrator and the tone of the novel. I didn't anticipate the ending, and although the twist in Gone Girl packed a bigger punch, this story was a solid and enjoyable mystery.
Rachel is a fascinating character. I can't remember ever reading a novel with female protagonist that is an alcoholic. It makes her not only unreliable to those around her, but also unreliable to herself. Rachel has so many flaws, yet I easily connected to her and rooted for her to succeed. It was an interesting balance. Rachel is also obsessed with her ex-husband and Megan's disappearance, making her actions a little creepy. How can she explain her repeated appearances in a neighborhood in which she no longer lives? Rachel's behavior makes the story a page-turner.
DISLIKE- There is a very minor character that is thrown in as a red-herring. I felt not just mislead, but tricked, with the unsatisfying resolution of this character's part in the story. I either needed more to make it a true red-herring, or I would have liked to have felt it was obvious that this character could not be the killer.
RECOMMEND- Yes, if you like a good mystery. I enjoyed The Girl on the Train. Hawkins has written a compelling, quick-paced story, with strong characters. Did I absolutely need to read this before seeing the film version? Probably not. Possibly they will butcher the film adaptation, but this style of book lends itself very well to the cinema. It seems natural to have turned this story into a film. I'm a fan of Emily Blunt and although she is much more beautiful that I ever pictured Rachel, I think is a great choice for the character.