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Lindsey's Literary Leanings

Book Reviews - Contemporary Fiction / Biographies / Autobiographies

  • Lindsey Skelton-Smith

The Girl on the Train (Author: Paula Hawkins)

The Girl on the Train (Book Cover)

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Thriller

The Girl On The Train By Paula Hawkins

Rachel travels on the train every weekday morning, & back each evening to keep up the pretence to her friend (although that could be pushing it a little now) & landlady that she has an existence that resembles normality. She drinks whilst she is out of the house as she feels she is judged. She drinks to forget, to block out the memories from the past.

The route the train takes is very familiar to her & in particular a row of houses. The end house used to be her home, & is now occupied by her ex-husband, his new wife & their child. She sees the couples from the other houses sitting on verandas or in their garden, laughing, chatting & drinking wine as the train slowly trundles past, & recalls when that life was hers. She gives the couples names, what kind of jobs they must have & how they lead their lives...

Rachel becomes particularly fixated on the couple who live in the first house. Then one morning, the train passes & Jesse is standing on her veranda with a man who clearly isn't Jason. They embrace & Rachel rushes to the back of the carriage to try to get a better look but the train carries her away. It is then reported that the woman has gone missing. She must tell the police what she has seen but her addled state of mind soon persuades her to get far deeper involved. Why should someone believe a woman who regularly drinks & has blackouts?!

After much soul searching & investigation she uncovers something about someone from her past that no one saw coming.

Now, having seen the film & not been left overly impressed with it, I was literally blown by the book. Even though it celluloid counterpart starred one of my favourite actresses, I felt that it didn't flow as well as it could have. This may have been intended to build up suspension but totally missed the mark for me. The novel was far more comprehensive, building suspension that had me on the edge of my seat throughout, so much so that I struggled to put it down & read it in four days - I did eat & sleep.

The character of Rachel became so real to me & I really felt for her situation. There were so many twists & turns, it kept me hooked right to the end. As with other books I've read, the decision to relocate to America for the film was disappointing, but again as with previous reviews, I think that this may have been due to the longevity of the novel & making it appeal to an American audience. As an English actress plays the lead character I felt that the screenwriters should have kept the existing location for continuity.

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