The Girl on the Train is a Psychological thriller written by British author Paula Hawkins. Published in 2015, the book touted as the ‘next Gone Girl’ is an edgy thriller. An alcoholic, Rachel has the most monotonous, aimless and mundane existence, till she gets involved in the disappearance and murder of a woman called Megan, a complete stranger to her. As Rachel tries to unravel the mystery, she ends up discovering unexpected truths about her own life.
Rachel could be any girl that you meet on your way to work. She has the most boring existence, taking the same train to work and back every day. If course she has her own issues, she is an alcoholic with a violent past, a divorcee who can’t get over her ex-husband and to make matters worse unemployed. So basically she takes the same train to London so as to hide the fact of her unemployment from her room-mate lest she is thrown out. Needless to say the train journey becomes the most important part of her existence, especially after she discovers Jess and Jason. The perfect couple to her, their life together makes her yearn for such happiness. And then one day Megan disappears and Rachel realizes Megan is no one else but Jess.
‘…They are only looking at the husband, presumably because they don’t know…..
- She has run off with her boyfriend, who from hereon in I will refer to as B
- B has harmed her
- Scott has harmed her
- She has simply left her husband and gone to live elsewhere
- Someone other than B or Scott has harmed her….’
She writes on a scrap of paper, determined to unravel the mystery behind Megan’s disappearance and then the Police lands up at her doorstep.
As Rachel tries to put the pieces of the jig saw puzzle together, she realizes, she could be involved in Megan’s disappearance and death more closely than she imagines. Found unreliable by the Police and threatened by Scott, coupled with a restraining order brought against her by Anna, her ex-husband’s wife and her troubled conscience, Rachel finds herself compelled to find the truth.
Paula Hawkins has created a story which is edgy, fast paced and keeps one engaged till the end. She writes in short, simple sentences which gives the story the sense of urgency. She does not waste one word on something not critical to the story. It’s like one of those movies where you can’t afford to miss a scene. It’s a book you cannot stop thinking about till you have devoured the last page. There are no black and white characters, they are all flawed and insecure. Just when you think you might have figured out the truth, the author gifts you a twist which confounds you. The twist in the end is most unexpected and though I don’t particularly like itL, however unlike the adage ‘The end justifies the means’ , it’s Rachel journey to the truth which makes up for any flaw that the book might have.
Do I recommend the book? Of course, take the train journey with her, it would definitely be one of the most interesting journeys you have ever undertaken.