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The Girl On the Train

the-girl-on-the-trainThe 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….… 😉

Rating: three and a half stars

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.


About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


13 thoughts on “The Girl On the Train

  1. I’ve never read Gone Girl. I really hate it though when books are compared to other books because usually they aren’t as good. Anyway – I only really enjoyed this book when I started to think of it as something interesting from the POV of an alcoholic. The story I thought a little far fetched and not really compelling.

    Although saying that, by the last 150 pages I did just keep reading and refused to make dinner until about 11pm! But then if a thriller cannot do even that by the end of the book – it doesn’t really deserve to be published! If it wasn’t for the fact I was reading it for book group I may have lost patience with it earlier on.

    I do however have Gone Girl now. I’d intended to read it anyway and it has to be better than this one.

    Posted by Fiona | June 20, 2015, 8:21 pm
    • Nice to see you here Fiona, Yes, it seems to pick up in the middle, otherwise it feels like a string of unhappy and unsatisfied women’s rambling from Megan, Rachel and Anna… I hope you enjoy Gone Girl and look forward to hear what you think about it. 🙂

      Posted by JoV | June 22, 2015, 12:37 pm
  2. I listened to it, and I thought the narrators did a great job. It was helpful to have different voices to follow the story. I didn’t like it too much at the beginning, but then I thought it was quite good to see how much each got involved at so many levels. And how truth can be so different from what you see at first sight

    Posted by WordsAndPeace | June 21, 2015, 1:56 am
  3. I liked Gone Girl, but I am highly suspicious of books that claim to be the next one of it. Girl on the Train doesn’t sound nearly as good, and ALSO I have heard the protagonist is kinda wishy-washy as a narrator. I’m probably giving it a miss.

    Posted by Jenny @ Reading the End | June 21, 2015, 4:30 pm
    • Hi Jenny,
      Yes the main protagonist is a unreliable one and very wishy-washy. The sort you want to shake her up so that she can act more sensibly. I don’t think you would miss much if you decided not to read this. 🙂

      Posted by JoV | June 22, 2015, 12:40 pm
  4. If you think you’re in the minority I must be all alone. I really hated this book – if it wasn’t for the fact it was chosen by my book club I wouldn’t have finished it at all. Aside from thinking all three woman were dull (all that whining) I did not find the story very compelling or believable. I was cursing the book club member who chose it long before I got to the end 🙂

    Posted by bernadetteinoz | June 23, 2015, 4:49 am
  5. I haven’t read this one yet but I have a strong feeling that I may not enjoy this one much. The thrill will probably be there but I am sure to have issues with it – based on the many reviews I’ve read by now about this book.

    Welcome back, by the way!

    Posted by Athira | June 24, 2015, 11:52 pm
  6. Hi there. Long time no chat 🙂 It is good to know that you are still very much into reading. How’s UK these days? Has Brexit affected your day-to-day life?

    Posted by Wilfrid Wong | April 27, 2019, 4:15 pm
    • Hi Wilfrid! Well, not so much reading as before but definitely reading more of non-fiction books and trying to read books that have been sitting on my shelves for years so that I can give them away soon. Hope you are well. Brexit has certainly hiked up everyday goods and food.

      Posted by JoV | June 14, 2019, 11:13 pm

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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