Onto the business at hand!
I jumped on the bandwagon. I read another popular book that is setting the publishing world on fire. The last time I read a popular book, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, I was deeply disappointed. I loved the movie adaptation of Gone Girl, but I hated the book. I thought the same thing would happen with The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. While the movie won't be out for at least another year, I was pleasantly surprised by the book.
After reading more than half of the book, I was debating giving up on it. Why? This is a book full of unreliable characters. But ..... as a whole this was a good book.
Rachel Watson is the girl on the train. Everyday Rachel rides the early morning train. Everyday she rides the train to escape from reality. Everyday she rides the train past her old neighborhood. Everyday she rides the train she is reminded of her failed marriage, and of her ex-husband's new life. But everyday she rides the train, Rachel gets a glimpse into the lives of a young couple. A young couple she doesn't know, but wishes she could. In her head, this young couple is happy. Their names are "Jess" and "Jason." Rachel lives vicariously through this young couple. But one day "Jess" shatters the fantasy. She has an affair. How can "Jess" do this to "Jason?" Weeks later things take a turn for the worse when "Jess" disappears. Did Jason have something to do with it? No, that can't be. The man "Jess" was having an affair with has to be at fault! Rachel has to go to the police. She has to tell the police what she saw. But will they believe her? Highly unlikely. Why? Rachel is a hopeless alcoholic.
When she's not riding the train, Rachel is drowning herself in alcohol. She's been fired from job. Her roommate/landlord is on the verge of evicting Rachel. Her ex-husband, Tom, and his new wife, Anna, think Rachel is a pathetic, drunk, stalker. When Rachel is coherent enough, she phones Tom constantly and shows up at his home, frightening Anna. The deck is stacked heavily against Rachel. Who would believe anything she says? I certainly didn't. I found Rachel to be extremely annoying and whiny. I wanted her to just grow a backbone. Every chapter was just more of the same. Every time I thought she got her act together, Rachel would just get drunk all over again.
Fortunately the book offers more than just Rachel's perspective. We also get to hear from Anna and Megan Hipwell a.k.a "Jess." Anna isn't the greatest character. She had an affair with a married man, leading to the end of Tom and Rachel's marriage. She's in constant fear of Rachel, but I didn't really care. Morally, Anna just didn't have a leg to stand on. Megan on the other hand, was a slightly interesting character. We learn that Megan and her husband, Scott a.k.a. "Jason," have a troubled marriage. Scott thinks therapy for Megan will save their marriage. It works and it doesn't work, if that makes sense. Megan was hiding big secrets, she lets some of those out. She feels better about herself but not her marriage. She doesn't know what to do with her life. When she disappears, suspicion falls on Scott. But reading the book, you know that's just too easy.
Rachel alone almost made me give up on this book. But I kept going. I wanted to know what happened to Megan. There had to be more to the story. None of the characters has any redeeming qualities, but there was just enough to hold my attention. If you're struggling with this one, keep reading. The ending will be worth it. Hopefully, the movie will be even better!
Rating: As a whole, Superb! The first 60-70 percent, Meh.