Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. 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 offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
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I’ll be honest, I hadn’t really intended on reading The Girl On The Train. I liked Gone Girl just fine without reading a book being lauded as THE NEXT GONE GIRL, whatever that means, but when we got talking about books one day at work and two of my colleagues were rather verbal in their disbelief that I hadn’t read the book, nor had I any intention of picking it up anytime soon, I felt I had to remedy that.
The main character, Rachel, kind of scared me. Obviously, you’re not meant to love her, but there was something about her that I found to be really, really creepy. And yes, she is a slightly unstable alcoholic, but more often than not she also came across as being rather unhinged. This put me in mind of the famous Nurse Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s Misery. I can feel myself becoming tense just thinking about that woman. Anyway, that’s who she reminded me of. I wasn’t super into it, but I kept reading because, well, by the time I thought I might put the book down, I was too invested in unravelling the mystery. I like working alongside the characters to get to the bottom of things, but I was frustrated by Rachel because you’re reading mostly from her point of view and even though she is the key (if unreliable) witness, she keeps blundering through and making a mess of things.
I can’t say that I guessed the murderer from the beginning, but my money was on that particular person from early on. Of course, there are a million other suspects in the middle section of the book, but when the big reveal came at the end I wasn’t surprised. I did enjoy the creepy confrontation, and the feeling of not quite knowing how things were going to play out, but that’s about it. It might have been a case of the ol’ overhype, or maybe it was because the book isn’t my idea of a thriller/mystery, but I didn’t think it was particularly well done. I found Megan’s storyline to be overly complicated, and Anna to be underused. This was a 2.5 star read for me.