“The Girl On The Train” Book Review

By Julia Lennon

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, is a stellar story told from a voice that is not your typical Barbie.

The main character, Rachel, is a drunk who pines after her ex-husband as she mourns for a life she once had and a child she never had. However, Rachel gradually discovers that she isn’t the only character with intense dilemmas. Every day, Rachel takes the train in order to fool her roommate into thinking she still has a job, and passes by her old house and one particular one. This other house is inhabited by a couple who Rachel creates identities for in her head, as well as a perfect life. Little does she know that Megan (the wife) is deeply unhappy with her life and cheats on her husband, Scott, frequently. One day on the train, Rachel sees her with another man. It’s only when Megan goes missing one fateful night, that the truth slowly trickles out. One might think that the truth is suffocating Rachel, when really, it’s bringing her back to life.

The book, published by Riverhead Books in 2015, certainly is a thriller as it keeps the reader guessing. One lovable element that isn’t truly discovered until the middle of the book, is that Rachel is an unreliable narrator. As she tries desperately to uncover Megan’s mystery—her motives being boredom and genuine attachment to the life she had created in her head for Megan and Scott—she also struggles with recalling important details from her own memory and past. In doing so, she realizes that maybe, just maybe, her past wasn’t as good as she thought it was. The novel explores the theme that what you don’t know can hurt you. 

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