This book was gifted to me by my mother a day before I moved to London and once I started reading it, I understood why she gave it to me – it’s a story based in London, about a young woman living in London… Thanks mum, I see what you did there.
The Girl on the Train is quite a trip of a book. A psychological thriller that mirrors Gillian Flynn’s ‘Gone Girl’ quite a bit. Three characters, Rachel, Meghan and Anna make up the story as every chapter is narrated by either one of the them. Rachel is the main character; a complex young woman we meet at first on a train on her commute home from work.
She is a basic worker in London who loves her alcohol. Only problem is when she drinks, she barely remembers anything, which may be the case for most people, only that her memory blocks out chunks of stuff. On her daily commute she always looks out the window to the houses by the train tracks, one of those houses being her former home with her ex husband Tom – who is now married to Anna.
One house in particular captures her eye because of the couple that lives there who she aptly names Jess and Jason. She imagines their picture perfect lives and sometimes makes up the type of conversations they may have in her head, just whiling away her commute. Until one day, the daily paper reports that Jess – real name Meghan – has disappeared. Her perfect couple is broken. Her interest in this story builds up as she remembers that she one day saw Meghan with another man in their front yard and not Jason – real name Scott.
The novel goes on documenting Rachel as she tries to remember a night that she came home drunk and woke up with bruises and a bloody top. This was the same night Meghan disappeared. Rachel tries to tip off the cops with what she can remember but they disregard her statement because she is known as a casual drunk who gets blackouts. Meghan’s account though tells as a whole different story. She is unhappy with her marriage to Scott, she seeks comfort from her therapist turned lover. Anna is just a woman after happily ever after with her husband Tom but she can’t seem to catch a break thanks to ‘crazy Rachel’ always calling the house or standing at their front door when drunk begging to see Tom.
Meghan’s husband, Scott may seem all put together but there could be something beneath that facade… Tom is somehow entangled between all these women and yet not much is said about him till much closer to the end. So what happened to Meghan? Who took her? Is she alive, dead, hurt, safe? Does Rachel remember what happened that night? Hawkins built her characters very well and the constant narrative from the three women keeps one turning page after page learning something new about one or the other with every turn.
The twists in this book are incredible and may not be as direct as in Gone Girl but make up solid creative content. My only problem with this book is that the storyline did drag on for a bit, all the suspense was kind of cramped further towards the end, making the climax very good but if you’re not a patient reader, you may give up on the book altogether. My advice – don’t give up on the book, you’ll thank me later.
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