Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Posted March 15, 2016 by Lucy D in Book Reviews, Mystery / 4 Comments

Review:  The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Published by Riverhead on January 13th 2015
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 336
Format: Audiobook

ORDER A COPY: The Girl on the Train

Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publishing Date:
Audiobook: 10 hrs 59 mins

Rating: DNF

[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]Horrible. Horrible. Horrible! I could not finish listening to this story.[/box]

My mother recommended The Girl on the Train to me and then she kept asking if I had read it. Since I had to use my audible credits, I downloaded a copy of The Girl on the Train and made it my next audiobook selection.

The basic premise of the story is the Rachel takes the train each morning into London and again back home. Each time she reaches the station near her old home that she shared with her ex-husband, the train slows down and sometimes is even required to stop.   Each day, Rachel is treated to seeing into her old home that Tom is now sharing with his new wife, Anna and their baby. In order to avoid looking at her old house, she has taken to looking at the young couple who live in the house a few doors down and who moved in after she moved out. As she peeks into their house ever morning and evening, Rachel has created this wonderful fantasy life for “Jess” and her beloved husband. “Jess” turns out to be Megan and Rachel learns this when she sees the newspaper article that Megan has gone missing. Rachel becomes involved in the investigation, especially after she sees Jess/Megan kissing a man in her backyard who was not her husband. Did Megan run away with her lover or possibly was she murdered by her jealous husband? Rachel must solve this mystery.

If there is worse cast of characters in a story, I can’t think of one at the moment.  This story is told in the form of diary entries. We started with Rachel on the train for what seems to be a normal commute. As we learn more and more about Rachel, we find out that she is an alcoholic which started after her ideal marriage to Tom failed after he cheated on her with his new wife, Anna. Listening to Rachel is depressing. She has been living in a room at her friend’s house, not even a close friend, for what is now going on two years, and she is still commuting to London each day even though she lost her job, due to the drinking, several months ago. She just hangs around at the library each day instead of maybe looking for a new job. She does this so her friend doesn’t realize that she is unemployed and as pathetic as we all find her, but everyone, including her friend, who already knows how sad and pathetic Rachel is. Including Rachel’s ex-husband and his wife who she drunk dials in the middle of the night over and over and over again.  None of which Rachel remembers since she drinks herself into blackouts.

When we finally get a look into the real life of Megan, we find her as pathetic and sad as Rachel, just without the booze. Megan uses sex as a replacement. Her diary entries start about a year prior to Rachel’s portion of the story. Megan lost her job in the local art gallery several months prior when they closed up and she has not gotten a new job since. That also seems to be a theme, that these women, once they are married are just kept at home and living off of the husband, but they are bored out of their minds and don’t know what to do with themselves. Megan is a bucket of anxiety which eventually leads her to counseling and a doctor who she has an affair with, and we find out it is not the first man she has cheated with. Megan’s life changed in her teen years when her beloved brother was killed in a motorcycle accident.  Her brother’s death sent her adrift and she doesn’t know what she wants or what would make her happy.

For awhile, Megan worked for Rachel’s ex-husband taking care of their baby, which she really had no interest in doing, but her husband hoped it would give her the baby-bug since he wants to start a family. The new wife Anna, was a stay-at-home mother and didn’t do anything while Megan was watching the kid except sit around watching Megan. Again, women are portrayed here as stay-at-home losers who do nothing all day but be bored and unhappy.

I got to a point after several hours of audiobook that I simply could not subject myself to listening to these two prattle on and on about their pathetic lives any longer.  Neither one doing anything to improve their unhappiness or even knowing what they could or should do to improve their lives.

Since my mother wouldn’t tell me how the story ended, I did find a spoiler thread on Goodreads so that I could find out what happened with Megan, did she disappear or was she murdered?

You can either subject yourself to almost 11 hours of torture or wait until the movies comes out later this year and subject yourself to only 2 hours of torture or you can simply head over to Goodreads and read the spoiler thread for yourself.

I have since looked at several reviews which compares this to Gone Girl which I saw at the movies and absolutely hated those characters.  Maybe that explains that this type of story is simply not for me.

This was one of the few times that I took audible up on their standard offer of returning a book that you don’t like.

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4 responses to “Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

  1. Thank you for saving me time and money. I almost bought this book this past Saturday. I tried reading “Gone Girl” because a friend recommended it to me. I just couldn’t get past the 30% mark (and I figured out the ending by that point!)

  2. JenM

    If I don’t like or sympathize with at least one of the characters in a book, I just can’t read it and my reading time is too valuable to waste on books I’m not enjoying. My book club chose Gone Girl, so I basically read the first 75 pages, then read the final 75 or so, and skipped the middle. Now, if I see “similar to Gone Girl” in the description of a book, I stay far away from it LOL.

  3. Mary C.

    I borrowed the book from the library – read about a third and skimmed the rest. I regret the time lost reading the book.

  4. Anne

    I was tempted to get Gone Girl after the movie came out and got such good reviews (I didn’t see it). I think I’ll stay away from both books. I’m not fond of the diary/email/twitter type set up either.