Monday, May 4, 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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

Rachel is in her late twenties and her life has taken a turn for the worst.  Recently divorced, she has taken to heavy drinking and now lives with an old friend from college.  Rachel lost her job, but still takes the train into the city everyday so that her roommate won’t know that she is out of work.  Everyday, she takes the same train route and sees “Jess and Jason” having breakfast on their porch.  Rachel has made up names for the couple and sees them as having the “perfect life.”  Only a few doors down lives her ex-husband, Tom, with his new wife and daughter.  One day, Rachel sees “Jess” kissing a man on her porch that isn’t her husband and it is soon reported that she has gone missing.  Rachel soon learns that “Jess and Jason” are really Megan and Scott.  Wanting to help the police find Megan, she reports what she saw and finds herself suddenly involved with their lives.   

            As the search for Megan continues, flashbacks show that her life and marriage to Scott were not as perfect as them seemed.  Tom’s wife Anna also plays a part in the story when the police find out that Megan had previously helped out with babysitting their daughter.  Rachel learns that the lives of herself and the other two women are more connected than she had realized.  When Megan turns up dead, Rachel is determined to help Scott figure out who the murder is.  The more tangled up that Rachel gets in the investigation, the more secrets she learns about Megan’s past life.  But, Rachel’s drinking problem often causes her to forget things and she is far from a reliable source.  She may know something about the murder, but the police (and readers) question whether or not they can trust her.

I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down.  It had a rapid and intriguing storyline that kept my interest until the very last page.  Many reviews that I read of the book stated that the book was the “new Gone Girl.”  I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn a few years ago and would have to agree: both books were compelling, suspenseful, and had wonderfully written characters that I hated and loved at the same time.  My only concern with the book (and the reason I gave it four stars out of five) was that the three voices of Rachel, Megan, and Anna felt too similar to me.  I sometimes found myself forgetting which narrator I was reading because they seemed too alike.

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