The Girl On The Train – book review

Have you ever glanced out the window of a train and wondered about the lives of the people in the houses that pass by? The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins the story of a young woman named Rachel, who does just that as she takes the boring daily train commute to and from  London.

Rachel is in many ways a damaged individual. Her husband left her for a more attractive woman, her  career is a disaster and she drinks excessively. The daily train ride is her escape. Not only does it give  her a sense of routine and normalcy, it also allows her a surreptitious glance into a life she wishes she had.

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Every day her train passes by the house of  a “perfect”couple. From her train window, she can see the house and backyard  of a wonderful  young couple, who are obviously in love.  The man is strong and handsome, and the woman is petite and beautiful.

On the commute home each day, Rachel often sees the young couple outside having dinner in the  back yard. They laugh and smile while they drink glasses of wine. They have the life Rachel wishes she had.  Rachel likes them so much, she makes up a whole life for them. She gives them names, and guesses at what their occupations are.  She begins to feel like she actually knows them.

Then one day Rachel’s fantasy is shattered. Rachel looks out the train window and sees the beautiful woman in the  backyard passionately kissing a man who is not her husband. After that,  things go from bad to worse. The next week, the young woman Rachel has been watching disappears, and the husband is suspected by the police of possibly being a murderer.

Rachel tries to help and tell the police about the “other man”. Of course, Rachel is considered just some alcoholic crack-pot not worth listening to.  Not satisfied with that, Rachel starts on the very dangerous quest to launce her own investigation into the beautiful woman’s disappearance.

It may seem like I have given away too much of the plot. However, this is only the beginning. The Girl On the Train is a complex thriller from start to finish with many more characters and situations than I have touched on.

This is author Paula Hawkins’ first thriller. She worked for fifteen years as a journalist before becoming a fiction writer. Her journalistic background can be seen in the attention to detail she puts into the story. You don’t feel like you are reading a work of fiction . All the characters come across as complex real individuals.

This is a fantastic book and I highly recommend it. It will leave you wondering whether you really know anything about the people around you. I can guarantee that once you have read this, you will never look out a train window the same way again.

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