The comparison to Gone Girl made me picked up this book. So I have fallen prey to the marketing gimmick of referring a book to a sensational best seller. Is it any better than Gone Girl? Here’s what I think, but first a little intro about the book.
The book is separated by chapters narrated by different women. At first I thought there were two, but then the third voice came in too. They all almost sound like the same person.
Rachel is the girl on the train. Every morning she sat on the train and every morning when the train approaches the Witney station, she saw this row of houses and look with bitterness and regret at one house, occupied by Tom and his wife Anna and a young daughter and look at full of wonders at another house which lives Jason and Jess (not their real names but nicknames given by Rachel) who seems like a perfect couple, out in the balcony having a blissful domestic life.
Rachel is drawn to this row of houses because she used to live there, in the same house that Tom used to live. She divorced from Tom, moved out of the house and Anna has replaced her place in the house. Rachel hasn’t got over Tom, she also has an alcoholic problem, overweight and recently lost her job.
The voice of Meghan (the fictional Jess) is a bored and good looking house wife who thinks that her good life is always not going to be enough. A troubled woman, her husband asked her to seek therapist’s help to overcome the depression that she may have.
The third voice, Anna, Tom’s wife is disturbed that they could not rid Rachel off from their daily lives. Rachel needy calls, emails, aimless wandering on the streets that they live, gives her the creeps.
The suspense really picked up when Rachel saw something out of the window of the train one day at the residents of the houses that she is so familiar. Soon one of the women disappeared. Drawn by the desperate need to feel useful and being a part of the mystery, Rachel is involved in the investigation. Unfortunately, Rachel is alcoholic and she often forget things and her memory are flawed; whose witness statements are unreliable. The day the woman went missing she was there. How can she help solve the case?
First, I think The Girl on the Train is nowhere near the Gone Girl in all the twists and plots that it aspires to be. While Gone Girl gave me lots of food for thought about couples in a marriage; The Girl on Train just made me feel sorry for all three pathetic women that wallows in their own miseries. Perhaps it is because of this that it sort of washed out the suspense and goodness of the book. The writing wasn’t that great but it was entertaining and easy to read through. Every character in the novel was a suspect and that is the only brilliant thing about the story as I find myself doubting one person to the next, even Rachel. Every single one of them is capable of killing. So when I finally found out about the killer, I was slightly surprised but not very surprised.
I looked at the reviews at Amazon UK and found 5300+ reviews have already been posted and the overall review was 4.5 stars. I felt as if I belong to the minority who think this is mediocre but an enjoyable 1.5 day reading experience.
As a daily commuter from Reading to central London myself, I hardly noticed any scenery or houses on my way because I am either trying to catch up on my sleep or reading a book on my Kindle. Perhaps I will pay more notice the next time and see something disturbing out of the window….… 😉
Other review: A little blog of books: “Tightly written and cleverly structured, ‘The Girl in the Train’ has all of the ingredients for a satisfying psychological thriller.”
Kindle. Publisher: Doubleday Jan 2015; Paper Length: 320 pages; Setting: London Source: Own copy. Finished reading on: 19th June 2015.