Book: The Girl On The Train
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Synopsis: This novel follows the story of Rachel, an alcoholic who can’t seem to get over her ex, Tom. Tom is currently living with his new wife, Anna and their daughter, Evie. They live in the same house Rachel and Tom lived in and this has Rachel fixated on them and their life. Everyday as she takes the same commuter train, it stops at certain signals that allows her to watch Tom and Anna. In addition, and in an effort to console herself that there are happy couples out there, she also becomes fixated in watching another couple that lives just a few houses from Tom and Anna. Because she does not know them, she gives the couple fake name and takes to romanticizing their happiness. She starts to feel like she really knows them and it gives her hope. One day, at the usual signal, she seems something extremely shocking about her favorite couple and this changes everything. She goes to the police but given her history with alcohol and stalking, she is deemed and unreliable witness. Is she really as unreliable as they say? She has to fight for her sanity and finds herself caught up in the middle of an investigation which leaves her not knowing whether she is doing more harm or good!
The Girl On The Train is narrated from three points of view and in the first person. The story is told by Rachel, Anna and Megan. It is clear from the start that all three women are not likable characters. In fact, they are quite irritating women. Their lives are connected and become entangled in ways none of them really expected.
We are introduced to Rachel first, who is very much fixated over her ex. Tom has already moved on with Anna and they have a small, happy family, a fact that seems to break Rachel down. Everyone would like for her to move on from this rock bottom that she seems to have hit. She even lost her job and alcohol has become her best friend. She often wakes up with memory blackout of what happened the night before. Most of the times she has to rely on others to give her bits of information on what she may have done while under the influence of alcohol. She takes to actively stalking Tom and Anna, who become incredibly upset by her behavior. Why she is not stalking her ex, she is romanticizing a seemingly happy couple who are neighbors to Tom and Anna.
We are then introduced to Megan, whose narration is given in the form of a flashback of events that leads to the present day. Megan was an artist with her own gallery but she left that life to become a housewife after her wedding. She seems lost and restless. She is not happy. She tries to go for some therapy and often spends her days looking for an outlet of all this negative energy that she cannot seem to let go of. Slowly throughout the book we are given the back story of what happened to Megan to make her the guilt riddled woman she is today. One day, her life is suddenly ended and this throws ripples of shock to everyone in the community.
Last comes Anna. Tom’s new wife and new mother to baby Evie. Anna is happy that Tom left Rachel and they are settling down together as the small happy family that is the envy of others. She has tried to convince Tom that they should move from the neighborhood they live in to another one given that Rachel is actively stalking them and seems to be the name of their existence. However, due to financial difficulties, they are forced to remain there. Nevertheless, her life is changed for the worse when an unforeseen tragedy strikes the neighborhood and she realizes that she has much more in common with Rachel than she ever knew.
I have to say that The Girl On The Train was actually a very interesting read. The story took a while to build up and I felt that the beginning of the book was a bit slow. Given the fact that the narration was done interchangeably among the three main characters, and in the present and the past, the build up to the story took some time. However, once I got into the story, I was hooked. The suspense is palpable in the book and all you want to know is, what happened next? The ending to the book was also unexpected, with a plot twist that had me mouth agape.
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who loves solving mysteries and enjoys a good thrill. This book will leave you curious for more. The seemingly unlikable characters will grow on you and the more you understand them, the more you empathize with them and wish them well. I am planning on watching the movie adaptation to the book soon and hopefully I will not be disappointed by its execution!
I hope you enjoy this book!
Cover image courtesy of Hope House Press.