The Girl on the Train Book Review

trainThe girl on the train is Rachel, an unemployed alcoholic who rides the train into London every morning. Rachel peers out the train window at a particular house where a young couple live. She images the perfect life this young couple must live. Until one day, when the woman that lived at the house disappears and Rachel may have saw something that could help the police find her.

Flawed Characters

You could argue that every major character in this novel is majorly flawed. The main character is an unemployed, alcoholic stalker. And she is just the tip of the iceberg. The cast is polluted with angry, obsessive, violent, lying, cheating characters. Not to mention there is a murderer in the mix.

**SLIGHT SPOILERS** My favorite part of this book was how much of a stalker the main character/narrator was without realizing it. She was oblivious to the strangeness of her obsession with this couple she watched on her daily train ride. Then we learn about her interaction with her ex-husband, then she reaches out to the husband of the missing lady, and to push it really over the top *SPOILER* she goes to the therapist who is also a suspect in the police investigation.

Multiple 1st person POVs

The point of view is always 1st person but different chapters jump into different characters’ heads. I enjoy this style of writing and thought Hawkins distinguished the characters’ voices well. I do wish she would have introduced all the characters’ POV closer to the beginning. I was jarred out of the story when Anna became a third 1st-person POV so late in the novel.

Writing Tip

177232851_8421f4f078“Scott opened the door almost before I finished knocking.”

Its nothing fancy but, as a writer, I saw this quote is a great example of how to add flair to a boring action. There are so many times when our characters have to knock on doors, walk across the street, cook dinner, and endless other actions that are needed to move the plot forward but are thoroughly boring.

Hawkins could have written this like “I knocked and Scott opened the door” or “Scott let me in after I knocked” or she could have skipped the action all together but instead she adds mood to the sentence.

From this sentence, we can deter that Scott was waiting for Rachel to arrive, that he was anxious for her to get there. Hawkins successfully sets the mood of the scene before our narrator even walks in the door.

3.5 Stars

This was a solid story, solid writing, good suspense but it didn’t capture my attention like I thought it should have/could have. The book has received a lot of hype in the media lately so my expectations for the book were very high.


About Sarah JS

Aspiring writer, lover of words, book nerd, working editor, and permanent student of the world

Posted on November 3, 2015, in Book Review and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. This is an incredibly refreshing review style; most critics keep the material at arms length, objectifying it from an outside perspective (which is fine of course), but your approach is entirely intrinsic: it’s almost like the author is critiquing themselves. Excellent stuff.

  2. I’m so glad you reviewed this one. I’ve heard the hype, too, and wondered about it. Great review! I especially enjoy your discussion of the writing. I once had a fiction professor who asked with every story we read, what we learned and how we would use it in our own writing. A very useful question!

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