Review: The Girl on Train

Book title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Released date: January 2015

(Warning: soft spoiler between the lines)
(This entry is also posted in

This novel opens with introduction to our main character, Rachel Watson. The thirty something woman who commuted every day using train to London, but not without companion of gin and tonic. Yes, Rachel was an alcoholic, driven by her terrible past with her ex-husband, Tom Watson.

Rachel had this habit of looking at a specific house in suburb area everytime her morning train stopped in the signal. She had been observing a couple who lived there that seemed like a perfect couple. This reminded her of her own situation and her dream of having wonderful family as they had. Until she saw it. A glimpse of gesture in the couple’s house which surprised her as it did not match with what she had in her mind. While she conflicted with herself on what she needed to do, news on missing person suddenly popped out. What would Rachel do?

I have mixed feeling about this novel (though I think I am more into the negative side). The plot itself is pretty much okay. The mystery is quite interesting, as it kept me questioning what actually happened in the past. The ending is okay, but I feel that some actions were somehow not necessarily required.

Hawkins used first person point of view (first person narrative). However, she put three narratives from three characters. It is not uncommon to have this kind of setup, but I rarely found a situation with more than two characters. Honestly speaking, I do not see the relevance of Anna telling her story here, considering she did not play a big role beside stealing someone’s husband in the past.

I think the weakest point of this novel is the characters. I could not find any single character who was strong enough to captivate the readers, not even Tom, the bad guy who supposed to be a very good liar. Rachel was a complete mess with no clear information on how she used to be, but suddenly, a few paragraphs in last chapter revealed how strong she was in the past. I was not convinced at all.

Overall, I would give this novel two and half stars out of five. The mystery and plot helped me to keep reading it until the last page. However, no strong impression of any character left in my mind afterward. An easy reading with no significant impact.


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