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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


Thursday, February 26, 2015

I am at the halfway point of listening to this book and I feel that I need to write a partial review before I find out the ending. Because when I do, I will surely end up writing a review full of spoilers and spites, not because of the author but more because of the revulsions for some of the characters if the book does not end the way I am hoping it should. I might write another review adding to this one, depending on how the book ends. But I would say for starter, it was a book that is good enough to keep me interested even though the writing is alright, nothing too fanciful, nothing too boring and nothing too pretentious either.

I don’t like that people keep comparing this with Gone Girl. This is nothing like Gone Girl, except for a missing girl and diary entry style. Gone Girl was good, but people remember it more because it became a massive Hollywood campaign for the book and the movie. I liked Gone Girl and I will remember its story for a long time (because of all the fuss). But I also thought the same way of Sidney Sheldon’s books for a very long time until recently I found out that I actually don’t remember the content of any of his books even though at the time of reading, I was sure that those were the best thriller/mystery novels I have ever read. Then there was The Dinner by Herman Koch which was also “Gone Girl of the Dutch” but to me that book was way above Gone Girl for its depth. So, let’s not compare it to Gone Girl, to me The Girl on the Train just does not provide the same vibe of evilness and the satisfaction of revenge (or at least not yet), although it seems more bleak and gloomy, as if the infamous clouds and the endless rain of London were washing and muddying the story. It’s also different because of the British tone vs. the American tone in the way it was written. Gosh I even hear the British narration of Clare Corbett reading aloud my reviews, which was something I didn’t experience when I reviewed Gone Girl last year. But, that’s enough of comparison.

Along the highway I travel daily on my commute to work for the past 6 years, there is a house on the side of the road. You can see it clearly in the winter when all the leaves have fallen off the trees. In the backyard of the house, which is front facing the highway, there is a tiny house. Actually, it started out as a garden with a pathway lined by miniature pine trees and connected by a Japanese bridge. Everything was planted nicely as if it was a garden for tiny people. It is not the size for human baby or toddler; it is for tiny people, like Barbie’s size. Or at least that’s what it seems like looking down to it from the highway. Over the year, a miniature house popped up not too far from the garden, miniature maples here and there, then a miniature RV trailer, then “oh look there’s a miniature shed way over there, has it always been there?”, and eventually a tiny swing set… It’s like a family has settled and began to expand there. It has become a habit for me to look at the house on my way to work every morning. Couple years back when we first discovered it, we even took the back road to see where the house is actually located. Not that we stalked them or anything, we didn’t even get out of our car to look around, just drove slowly past it, acknowledged that it’s there. We were just curious, we are still curious, about the people who built the miniatures, and the about the miniatures themselves. Is there anyone living in the miniature house? We will never know. This makes me feel connected to Rachel, in the way she looks at Jason & Jess’s house. I can understand why she is obsessed with them.

I immediately sided with Rachel because I hated Tom and Anna. I always have and always will hate cheaters (especially if they’re married) and home wreckers. Their story is annoying, their excuses are incredulous, their emotions unjustified. I’m not against people falling in love with someone else or unable or unwilling to be with someone in during worse time after committed to marry them, but at least call it quit before moving on; although I can’t understand why people swear “for better or for worse” but as soon as the “worse” part comes out, they are not willing to deal with it anymore. Perhaps like Gillian Flynn has put it, marriage is for pretense to be at their best of all time, not for truth. I also don’t understand how someone can stay in someone’s ex-marriage home, so Anna must be insane and up to no good. I ran up a few scenarios of how she could be involved in this case to my husband. He thinks I’m a bit ridiculous. But why else is she one of the narrators of the book? Her role must be big. It’s a cliché: Rachel the witness, Megan the victim, Anna the murderer. Or is it in the right order? Either way, if Paula Hawkins has intended for Anna to be the annoying character of the book, she was successful. And Tom too, I can’t stand the way Rachel keeps sobbing over him.

It’s not that I like Rachel either. She’s too weak and unstable as a person; her actions are almost farfetched sometimes. But I could understand her, and with the amount of rehab clinics and AA group everywhere, I could see that there are people like her here and there. She is very broken for sure. Sometimes when she is sober, she knows what she needs to do to feel better and be better, but she just doesn’t do it. She’s only got herself to blame. Sad. I don’t feel much for her now that I write these thoughts down, but I still think she deserves better than continuing to intertwine with Tom and Anna.

Megan. Megan is the most mysterious character of the book. She sounded sweets, and crazy. Sometimes I feel sorry for her. Staying at home with nothing to do can drive people insane on top of the anxiety they’ve already spent their whole life building up inside. “When did this house become so bloody small? When did my life become so boring? Is this really what I wanted? I can’t remember…”


Our rating: 3.5/5

Photo Credit: & Audible stock photo

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