Hey Guys! It is Max here and I will be doing a long-awaited review on a book called ‘The Girl On The Train’ By Paula Hawkins. This is a highly-acclaimed novel and it was frequently compared to ‘Gone Girl’, another screw the pooch book that I had yet to read. Truth to be told, I did not like this book as much as everyone else seemed to enjoy and I will tell you why later in the review.
To be honest with you, I do not know how to summarize this book but all I can tell you is that this is an ‘Adult, Psychological Thriller’ novel that will make you either addle your brain with a concussion as a friend or make you dispute yourself on why you even read this book in the first place. I am the latter.
So, without further ado, let us get into the book review!
- All thoughts and opinions are on my own and,
- The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!
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 of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. 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…
My Thoughts: The Beginning
This novel was frequently compared to Gone Girl for its plot twists and messed out plotlines. However, after I had experienced reading this book, I do not know or I highly doubt that I would enjoy the process of reading Gone Girl because I did not exactly relish on how the story was unfurled here and I shall let you all know why.
By the way, this review will not consist of the usual segments such as Writing Styles and Characters as I would like to try combining both of those segments in this section. Furthermore, this review will be kept short because it is a twisted thriller novel and I do not wish to spoil you with the knowledge of this novel that I had in my mind. Thus, let us begin!
I savoured the writing style that the author had provided for us in this novel because not only was it easy to read and get through because of the addictive element that the author had annexed into the making of this novel which of course, made this novel entertaining but the author’s writing style was perfect for concealing some facts about certain characters and later used it to confuse the reader and ultimately, reveal her genius plan to make everything right. I thought it was well done and I would, honestly, give Ms Hawkins another chance on reading her latest work if not for the ‘Cons’ which I will later share with you all.
Moving on, I would like to converse on the atmosphere of the novel. I enjoyed the ambience of anticipation, suspense (as long as it lived) and the feeling of desire in this novel. The air of perplexity will be spoken more about later in the Cons section and as for now, I would state that I appreciated it while it lasted because it commenced dispersing when the book progressed. However, the ambience of anticipation and the feeling of desire were there throughout the novel and I thought it was blended conscientiously and agilely. The constant hit of the atmosphere would have you wanting to feel bad for the characters and thus, I enjoyed the ambience of the novel.
Now, I would fancy addressing the idea of the novel. The idea was immeasurable albeit, the execution of the novel was amateurish. I loved the fact that this was included: A random passerby witnessed a ‘crime-scene’ and thought she was to be involved as she had valuable information to provide to the police but little does she know that she was actually involved in the whole situation.
The idea was great alright! I thought it could do the idea justice if the execution was not half as bad as what this book had provided. Oh, wells, another idea had gone to waste, at least, that is what I thought.
Finally, I savoured on the pacing of the novel. This novel was fast-paced and thrilling in the first 100 pages as you would like to acquire information on what in the living world is going on and in the last 200 pages of the novel, certain scenes were dragged and thus, it tarnished the golden plate of being ‘fast-paced’ but still, it went on decent speed. If it was not for the pacing, I thought I would end up DNF-ing the novel right there on the spot because the characters did not hold my attention as they do not have anything special to share and bestow on their readers. So, if you would love to read a thriller that is fast-paced, do give this novel a read, I guess?
The characters’ developments in this novel were almost non-existent. We had three narratives in this novel: Rachel, Anna and Megan. One is a drunk, another is a cheat and the last is a liar. None of them is reliable which I thought, when I was reading the first 200 pages of the novel, was the strongest point of the novel but as the story proceeded, my mind started to wonder whether it is actually the most influential point of it all and here is why I thought it was not as mighty as it had appeared:
Anna, who was regarded as the third protagonist of the novel had the least page count and therefore, I dismissed the fact that she was a protagonist and placed her, in my mind, as a side character. Now, side characters in novels can grow too but Anna only had a minimum development when the last page was disclosed. Her attitude towards Rachel had a slight improvement and I thought that was great to see but that does not terminate the fact that she almost had no development. Also, her character was not as well-built as I initially thought it would. Her character was just there to play the role as a cheat and that’s all it is. No dwelling into her family history and her life before she became a cheat, just purely her cheating self.
Rachel, who was the main protagonist of the novel had the most page count and we are mostly in her head. Gosh, she was such an imbecile. I enjoyed her flaws, initially, as it made the characters more fleshed out and real but as the story progressed forwards, I thought otherwise. Here’s a question: If someone understands that they require full attention on something, they would not- first thing, run to drink alcohol, that would only make the situation worse as it would cause drowsiness if one does not handle the amount of liquor they consume. This person is, with no doubt in mind, Rachel! She was conscious that she should not drink when she is going out to ‘interrogate’ someone but she did it anyways! When I thought she would quit drinking, like what she had said in the book, she went out and disappointed me. Clearly, she continued drinking until the novel ended. So, there was not any character development. However, she was better built than Anna, her history and experiences were written on the page and we could somehow sympathize with her but that is it. No character development in sight.
Megan, who was the liar that had ill intentions. I will not go in-depth with her character as she was twisted and you had got to read the novel to understand her but I would say that she does see the light in the end. She understood what she did was wrong and somehow made a really minor character development by rectifying her past mistakes. By mistakes, I meant to say lots of them. Her history was clearly written on the pages as well, perhaps even more in-depth than our main protagonist’s history. So, if I were to choose one character to root for, not that I liked any of them, I would have to choose Megan as she was the most developed character in this novel.
Moving on, I hated the fact that I knew who the killer was even before it was revealed. Now, I am not an avid reader of the genre of thriller, I tend to gravitate towards Fantasy and Young Adult Fiction novels and even I seem to notice who the killer was before it was unveiled. I thought this was to be blamed on certain plot details that were exposed in the first 100 pages of the novel which was when the book switched protagonist to Megan’s. I cannot help but kept some important points in my head and when the killer was revealed to be this ‘person’, I completely lost interest from this book because of how noticeable it was. So, in truth, the plot twist did not surprise me at all and I hope it does not do the same to you.
The relationship was something that I absolutely despised in this novel. Again, the first 100 pages of this novel, the author allowed us glimpses of the broken relationships and the abuses that some of the characters took on from their partners but after a while, everything just suspended. The bonding between characters does not mend, not that I want them to, but realistically, if you have been through something traumatic with someone and they shared the burden with you, you would find the bond between this human being to strengthen but in this novel, it does not. So, that is all I am going to say.
Moreover, there was some plot hole in this novel and it hindered my mind that it was so prominent. I do not want to spoil the book but the plot hole is about: one of the main characters in the book is cheating on her husband with 2 guys and when the killer was revealed, everything had gotten muddied. If you have read the book, you would know what plot hole I am conversing on.
Finally, I would like to discuss the atmosphere specifically, the air of suspense of this novel. The air of suspense was thick when this novel first introduced us that one of the prominent figures in this novel had died. It kept us reading to find out how the plot would escalate from therein. However, as the story progresses, the ambience of the novel started thinning and that made the ending flat because the air of suspense just evaporated. It happened because there was not much plot to support the backbone of the story and somewhere in the middle, the story dragged with Rachel being a drunk. Therefore, I did not really like the ambience of the novel except for certain parts of it.
Overall: The Ending
With my flaming hatred for this novel, I shall award this book with a 29% rating as it had some redeeming qualities and I thought it was not half as bad as some books that I had read this year. Thus, the result for this novel is uttered.
This is the end of my spoiler-free review for The Girl On The Train By Paula Hawkins! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!