Books · Summer Read Series

Summer Reads: The Girl on the Train

I am so far behind the hype with this one. The Girl on the Train has been on my to-read list for so long now, and hearing that they are making a movie out of it finally led me to push it to the top of my list. I had really high hopes for it, and I still can’t decide how I feel about it. It is really hard to sum this book up briefly, but I’ll give it a shot…

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In The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, Rachel is a divorced alcoholic who commutes from the suburbs into London everyday. Her train makes a daily stop in front of a house where she sees a couple out on their patio every morning, and she is constantly imagining what their lives could possibly be like. One day, the wife goes missing. Rachel knows she was in the area where the wife disappeared on the night she went missing, and despite not having accurate memories of the night (since she was black out drunk), she is convinced that she witnessed something important happen. In attempt to resurface the memory, she interjects herself into the investigation and into the personal lives of people she doesn’t even know, or no longer knows. And then as she gets closer and closer to uncovering he memory, all hell breaks loose.

That’s the only way I can think to explain it succinctly and sans spoilers. Some say that the book was too similar to Gone Girl, and although there are for sure some similarities in the twists and the thriller aspects, I don’t think that you can read one and not enjoy the other. This book was different enough to make it worth the read, with one of the key differences being the focus on the main character’s struggle with alcoholism.

At the risk of sounding like an insensitive jerk, I will say that the alcoholic main character was a tad frustrating, and my biggest issue with the book as a whole. It drove me nuts that if she hadn’t been so drunk she either a) would know exactly what happened to the woman who went missing, or b) could have prevented it altogether. Not to mention that as she is trying to help with the investigation, she continues to get way too drunk almost daily and sets herself back time and time again. One of the reasons I am so conflicted about how I feel about this book is that although the Rachel the alcoholic frustrated me at so many points throughout the book, I also liked being kept on my toes by the fact that her alcoholism made her such an unreliable narrator. It really makes you think about the scenario and what you are reading, and the doubt that you have allows you to interact with the book in a different way.

The bottom line is that while there are some things about this book that I definitely did not enjoy and I was able to figure out the ending with about a quarter of the book left, it was still a good plot line and it’s a good thriller for sure. I am really looking forward to seeing the movie when it comes out in October (maybe that will help me settle on whether or not I am an Emily Blunt fan- so many conflicts coming to light here). I would give the book a solid 3.5 stars, and I would say it’s worth the read- but not necessarily the hype.

I’m not sure how much time I will have left for summer reads this year considering I start classes in two week (ugh), but I am going to try to squeeze in at least one more! The rest I will have to push to my winter break list.

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