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Good Reads Review: The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

*Mild Spoilers Ahead* Diving into this book with no context at all, I now see why this book picked up the hype that it did: this book is a master-class in unreliable narration and self-deception. The novel follows several characters, but predominantly focuses on the eponymous character of Rachel. Hot off losing her job, her life is in a downward spiral following the collapse of her marriage, drifting in life and turning further and further into alcoholism. Her only escape is riding the train past her old stomping ground, getting lost in the houses and people she sees, much to the annoyance of her ex-husband Tom and new wife, Anna. However, when someone goes missing in the neighbourhood Rachel becomes obsessed that she saw something, and as she is drawn more and more into the lives of the people around her, dangerous truths start to reveal themselves. Hawkins has written a fantastic thriller, with the multiple perspectives on single situations an especially well-executed highlight throughout the book. Rachel trusts herself even less than we do her, which gives the reader a great sense of unease around her. The other character perspectives in the book, Anna and Megan, offer great contrast, but as the actions of others around them become more and more extreme, you start to doubt them even more. These characters are fleshed out, riddled with guilt, and filled with secrets: it's so fascinating on the page. The only part that let the book down a bit for me, however, is the ending, hence the mild spoiler warning below: After a body is discovered, the author is thrust into a wonderful whodunnit, with the eventual culprit having weaved a deft web of lies and manipulation. However, once the culprit is revealed and the action picks up, this character loses a significant amount of dimension, falling back on cliched responses, over the top malice and threats. Considering how well they had manipulated many of the characters in the story, to continue that in some way would have brought the feeling of unease to breaking point. It doesn't ruin the twist or action by any means, but it did take me out of the story somewhat when the pay-off was occurring. Regardless, this is a thrilling story, feeding off the 21st century fears of stranger danger, manipulation and hiding in plain sight. A stand out read for lovers of thrillers! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


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