The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins: Book Review

“I have lost control over everything, even the places in my head.”

To talk too much about The Girl on the Train is to give away its secrets, so I will be as brief as possible. Suffice to say that Rachel, a woman who has recently gone through a painful divorce and whose reliance on alcohol to get through the day makes her a narrator who is unreliable at best, notices a couple from the train every day. She feels like she knows them by now, having imbued them with the perfect life she lost. But one day Rachel sees something that shocks her–something that challenges everything she’s held dear about this mysterious couple. Rachel’s grip has been tenuous at best, and now things are quickly spiraling out of control.

When this book first came out it was frequently touted as the next Gone Girl, because marketing loves to sell us things by association. The Girl on the Train is actually better, in my opinion. And while it does lose some steam in the end (as with Gone Girl, any ending would have been difficult), I would say that The Girl on the Train sticks the landing more solidly than Gone Girl. If you go in for such comparisons, of course.

If you don’t care for comparisons, just know that The Girl on the Train is a solid thriller. Full stop. It will grab you, force you to turn the pages, and it won’t let go until it’s finished with you.

Grade: A-

Related: my review of Hawkins’ next book, Into the Water.

The Girl on the Train Book Paula Hawkins

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