Saturday, 12 September 2015

Review ~ The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Book Description:

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

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Our Review:
Reviewed by Donna ~ 4 stars

“Life is not a paragraph, and death is no parenthesis.”

So, I had been on a run of emotional reads and needed something different to brush away those proverbial emotional cobwebs...nothing better than a suspense type read. This is one of those books that gets the old grey matter working as you try and become Sherlock Holmes, reading between the lines and putting two and two together and coming up with five. I have to admit I was pretty useless in trying to work out whodunit in this one, although I did work it out before it was revealed, but not long before.

“One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told. I’ve got a few of those.”

This is a book where I found it hard to like any of the characters, which actually amazes me considering I could not put the book down. I was sympathetic towards Rachel at times, but even her I wanted to throttle at various points. So how can a book full of characters that you hate be so all-consuming? This is the genius part, the plot was unique, the writing suspenseful and addictive and not one character in this book turns out who/what you perceive them to be.

“The holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mould yourself through the gaps.”

This book was like a charade party, at the beginning you knew who everyone was pretending to be and then when they took of their mask, bam, totally somebody get my drift? Everyone in this book wears a mask, whether it be for good or evil. Who to trust? Who to believe?

“Nobody warned me it would break us. But it did. Or rather, it broke me, and then I broke us.”

We have all had that daily, monotonous commute whereby you sit down on the train and look aimlessly out the window as the scenery passes you by, the same shit, different day scenario. Rachel’s train stops at the same stop light every day and this stop light is right outside a little row of houses and Rachel has dreamt up who lives there, what they do, where they work etc. She has created this little fictional village in her head to pass the time. One day she sees something away from the norm, she knows she shouldn’t have seen it, but it just adds a bit more spice to the little story that she has going on in her head. When the woman later turns up missing is what Rachel saw pertinent to the investigation?

“I want to drag knives over my skin, just to feel something other than shame, but I'm not even brave enough for that”

I have to say, I did start out listening to this one but found that I had to jump back to actually reading it because the switches in POV and timeline jumps got really confusing at times when you are playing it by ear. This is a book that is continually moving, hurtling you around in the process, especially your brain as you struggle to keep a mental note of all the who, what’s, where’s and why’s.

Rachel has had a tough few years, she has just lost her job, just got divorced from her husband who left her for another woman and she walks around in a permanent state of drunkenness...she is a wallower. She wallows in self-pity for the majority of this book but finally when she is sober you begin to see the real Rachel underneath. The trouble with being a drunk is you become an unreliable witness and when her past and present begin to collide the mess only gets messier.

“I felt isolated in my misery. I became lonely, so I drank a bit, and then a bit more, and then I became lonelier, because no one likes being around a drunk. I lost and I drank and I drank and I lost.”

For a debut novel this was a fantastic read, Paula Hawkins truly delivered a book that confused, befuddled and totally messed with your mind. With many a red herring thrown in to throw you off the scent you will find yourself constantly second guessing everything you read. It was like was Mr Black, in the drawing room with a rope...oh no it was Mrs Red, in the garden with a hammer, oh no it wasn’t it was...and it goes on...and on...until finally EUREKA!!

“They’re what I lost, they’re everything I want to be.”

If you love suspense then this is a great read and if you can get past some irritating characters that make stupid choices then you will definitely love it. I can’t wait to see what else Paula Hawkins pens, because if this is anything to go by she has an extremely bright future ahead of her.

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