Recently Reading: The Girl on the Train

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

What can I tell you about The Girl On The Train that you haven't already heard? Not a lot really, other than to say you should defo read it. I actually wasn't sure if I should get it because I'm not a hardback fan and that's what was on offer in Sainsbury's but, well, it wasn't the number 1 hardback in the UK for 20 weeks (longest ever) for nothing.

Like I said, you've probably heard that it's being made into a film and the incessant comparisons to Gone Girl. I get that to a certain extent, but The Girl on the Train actually feels more realistic, not least because it's set over here in the UK and also because the crazy and tragic things that unfold in the book all seem like things that could, in our own lives, happen, by accident. You know, without backdating years worth of diary entries and faking your own death.

The device of the unrelialable female narrator is used to brilliant effect; the narrative is told primarily through Rachel, a drunken divorcee without much to smile about, her enigmatic would-be neighbour Megan and her ex's new wife Anna, who takes just a little bit too much pleasure in Rachel's spiral into dispair.
Rachel has lost her husband, her flat and her job due to her descent into alcoholism and while at first the reader is a little sympathetic you soon start to tire of her self-pitying, indulgent and careless behaviour and just want to give her a 'fix-up' slap. She perves on a couple she can see from the train on her commute, a kind of real life Instagram stalk, giving them names and creating a love story for them...until the woman, Megan, goes missing and Rachel turns all True Detective. Her drunken past means the she becomes a literal unreliable witness. Tut. Rachel gets deeper and deeper into something she's not too sure she can handle...and along the way begins to question some of her memories about her marriage to her hard done by ex, marred by tragedy and hampered by alcohol fuelled blackouts.

Hawkins brilliantly constructs an unlikeable character but manages to get us back onside as the book progresses, weaving the three women's pasts and presents together to a tense and terrifying climax.
I read this book in one weekend and probably could have done it in a few hours if I didn't put it down to go out partying. Books and booze make for a pretty good weekend really!
Read it. Instagram the book if you're really cool (Reese Witherspoon did). You could wait for the film but you'd be missing a trick.

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