The Girl on the Train

by Paula Hawkins

Hardcover, 2015

Call number




Riverhead Books (2015), 336 pages


Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. 'Jess and Jason', she calls them. Their life - as she sees it - is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she's only watched from afar. Now they'll see; she's much more than just the girl on the train.

Media reviews

"...a building, inescapable tension that Hawkins handles superbly, nibbling away at Rachel’s memories until we, like our sardonic, bitterly honest narrator, aren’t really sure we want to know what happened at all."
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“The Girl on the Train” has more fun with unreliable narration than any chiller since “Gone Girl,” the book still entrenched on best-seller lists two and a half years after publication because nothing better has come along. “The Girl on the Train” has “Gone Girl”-type fun with unreliable spouses, too. Its author, Paula Hawkins, isn’t as clever or swift as Gillian Flynn, the author of “Gone Girl,” but she’s no slouch when it comes to trickery or malice. So “The Girl on the Train” is liable to draw a large, bedazzled readership too
Readers sometimes conflate the “likability” of characters with a compulsion to care about their fate, but with a protagonist so determined to behave illogically, self-destructively and frankly narcissistically (someone even refers to her as “Nancy Drew”), it’s tough to root for Rachel. She’s like the clueless heroine of a slasher film who opts to enter the decrepit, boarded-up house where all her friends have been murdered because she hears a mysterious sound through an upstairs window

Library's review

This novel is described as psychological fiction. Not quite a "thriller', but close. The focus is on a small set of characters, all suffering and damaged in some way. The chapters alternate in first person narrative between these main characters, moving back and forth in time, the two time points getting closer and closer and converging at the end. The setting, in part taking place on a suburban London train line, is nicely crafted and integrated with the inner, psychological world. It's an easy read, and a fun one: not surprising they've made it into a movie. (Brian)… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member RidgewayGirl
The Girl on the Train is Rachel, an unemployed, newly divorced woman with a serious drinking problem. Traveling to London every day on the train, she passes the back of her old house, now filled with her ex-husband's new wife and baby. But what fascinates her are the inhabitants a few doors down, a young couple who are clearly so in love and happy.

Paula Hawkins has written the first big breakout novel of 2015. It's been compared, over and over, to Gone Girl, which is mainly due, as far as I can tell, to being an entertaining, page-turning psychological thriller that the publishers hope will sell just as well. It is those things. Otherwise, there's no connection to Gillian Flynn's novel.

The Girl on the Train is narrated by three women; Rachel, herself, desperately unhappy and hanging together by the thinnest thread, she's still the linchpin of the novel as she tries to put the pieces back together into some sort of coherent narrative. Then there's Megan, the woman she watches so closely and whose disappearance is the central mystery of the novel. She's not as happy as she appears to be. And, finally, there's Anna, the new wife, who feels menaced by Rachel's constant appearance on their quiet street. She's got a family she loves and she won't let Rachel hurt it.

Overall, I enjoyed this suspenseful novel. While Megan and Rachel's voices and the way they experience the world are so similar, it's hard to tell them apart, each chapter is clearly marked with who is speaking and when that chapter takes place, so that the reader can follow the story as it jumps from narrator to narrator and through time. The Girl on the Train has the feel of a debut novel and there are missteps along the way, but it's a fun book with an ending that doesn't feel like a cheat. I look forward to seeing what Hawkins writes next as this novel showed promise.
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LibraryThing member cyderry
I won't even begin to try to tell the tale of this depressing, dragged out tale of murder and alcoholism.

I would have abandoned the entire book 60 pages in but since it was my book club selection I had to persevere. I had it figured out very quickly and it really didn't hold my interest.

Can't figure out what the big hoopla was all about but I can tell you that I won't be going to see the movie when it's made.… (more)
LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins definitely took me on quite the ride. This was not an easy book to put down, the twists and turns kept the pages turning, but I was pretty much able to keep up with the author and so wasn’t surprised at the ending.

I won’t go into plot details in any depth as so much has been written about this book already. It’s a great character study of a group of dis-likeable, damaged people. I started the book with a certain amount of sympathy for Rachel, but, as with all drunks, she started to wear on me and I lost patience with her. As the layers kept getting peeled back and more and more of their lives were revealed, the reader becomes aware that no one in this book can be trusted, all are unreliable narrators. An alcoholic, a pathological liar, a cheat and homewrecker, a controlling and abusive husband, that only leaves the victim and she was a total mess! However, none of this took away from my enjoyment of the book, the author was in control of the whole proceeding and guided the story along at a great pace.

The Girl on the Train is a highly readable thriller and the fact that this is the author’s debut book is astonishing. Her ingenious take on the daily commute is original, the shifting perspectives keep the reader glued to the page and her skillful writing draws one into the story. I certainly don’t want to hang out with these characters, but they make for a very interesting read.
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LibraryThing member jmchshannon
There are two main reasons why readers will enjoy The Girl on the Train but not love or rave about it. For one thing, the female characters are perfect examples of common feminine tropes. First, there is the woman who views all other women as competition. Her life revolves around turning the heads of men and being the most desirable woman in any given room. Then there is the woman who loses herself to her man. She accepts disturbing behavior from her husband as perfectly normal, even while her therapist cautions her against the dangers of such behavior. Finally, there is the woman who falls into the pit of depression upon her divorce and still calls her ex-husband to beg to get together again several years later. None are shining examples of women, and they only serve to highlight the tension that underpins many a female relationship.

The second reason readers may feel disappointment upon finishing The Girl on the Train is the fact that it is predictable. There are a few twists, but deft readers will be able to spot the diversions within them. Then there is the big reveal that is less surprise and more confirmation that one was on the right path towards solving the mystery. The fact that most readers will be able to predict at least one or two of the major plot twists underpins the thriller elements and prevents the story from becoming extraordinary.

What saves the story from becoming just another unreliable narrator suspense is the depth of emotion throughout the story. One may not like her behavior towards her ex-husband, but there is no denying the girl has many issues, of which her alcoholism is just one facet. The underlying causes of her alcoholism are heart-breaking, and her inability to articulate her issues to her loved ones makes the entire situation worse. One wants Rachel to recover and regain control over her life, feels frustration with every relapse and joy with every step in the right direction. Megan is similarly damaged, evoking comparable feelings of empathy in readers. Together, these ladies carry the emotional heart of the novel and of the readers.

While it is easy to thoroughly enjoy the action and the thrills of The Girl on the Train, it is ultimately one of those novels that can never live up to the generated hype. Readers looking for the next big mind-blowing novel are only going to experience disappointment. This does not mean it is a terrible novel; in fact, it is anything but that. It is just not the type of novel that will leave readers speechless and anxious to discuss it with strangers on the street.
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LibraryThing member bookmuse56
My thoughts:
• I am in the minority on this book as this storyline did not work well for me. This book has been at the top of best seller lists since publication.
• According to the book blurb this book should have been right up my alley as I tend to like unreliable narrators as they keep storylines interesting, words like Hitchcockian thriller had me making sure that I would be undisturbed while reading, and the concept of Rachel envisioning the lives of others while riding the train was understandable as for many years I commuted to work via trains.
• My main complaint is the main character Rachel – she is a depressive drunk (she has her reasons) that just annoyed me to the point that I was rolling my eyes for most of her scenes after awhile.
• There were three first person narrators that alternated during the course of the book – first it was mainly Rachel, then Megan (who Rachel imagined lived life as part of a perfect loving couple), and then Anna (who is now married to Rachel’s ex-husband). So the reader learns things that the other characters do not know about each other when a specific character is narrating. This worked for me though at times I think what the characters revealed was a convenient plot ploy.
• About half way through the book, as the story takes some twists and turns I think there are enough clues for the reader to figure out what happened. So no real surprises for me after this point.
• Some interesting themes run throughout the book – adultery, deception (probably one of the most interesting) and how the train meant different things to the three women.
• Overall I found the storyline slow going and I did not feel the suspense and anticipation I usually do with a psychological thriller.
• If I had a tag line for this book – it is stalled in the station.
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LibraryThing member flourgirl49
Rachel, the main character of this book, spends a LOT of time on the train - I mean, really excessively. The rest of her time is spent drinking, suffering blackouts and hangovers, and harassing her ex-husband and his new wife. There are three female narrators of this story, and their tales are so similar in some respects that you sometimes forget who is talking. There is a disappearance which turns into a murder, and by the time it is solved, I was kind of bored with the whole thing. This book has gotten rave reviews, not deserved in my opinion.… (more)
LibraryThing member lauralkeet
On her daily London commute Rachel, the eponymous girl, watches the people living in houses along the route. Or, more to the point, she’s kind of obsessed with one specific house and the couple living in it. She invents their back story, and one day sees something so compelling she feels she has to act on it and insert herself into their lives. It turns out the couple, Megan and Scott, live just down the street from Rachel’s ex, Tom, his wife, Anna, and their baby daughter. And something is definitely not right, but Rachel may not have interpreted events correctly, either.

Or has she? The story moves back and forth in time, narrated alternately by each of the three women. I am intentionally avoiding any mention of the central storyline. Suffice to say it’s a thriller about a missing person. Each chapter offers up tiny details but omits others, keeping the reader guessing. Gradually it becomes apparent that not only is the messed up, alcoholic Rachel an unreliable narrator, but so are Megan and Anna. And the men don’t exactly redeem themselves, either.

The novel moves along at a clip. I zipped through it in two days, and was grateful to have another reader at home with whom I could hash out the story. With the exception of one obvious device and a few coincidences, it’s a good story with plenty of suspense.
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LibraryThing member Twink
The Girl on the Train is Paula Hawkin's debut novel. And oh, what a debut!!

Rachel rides the train to London every day, keeping up the pretense that she she still has a job and a place to be. In fact she doesn't - her alcoholism has cost much - her husband, her job and her home. Adding salt to her wounds is the fact that the train makes at the station by her old neighbourhood. Twice a day, Rachel passes by this row of houses by the station. She often sees a couple she has named Jess and Jason in their garden and has created a fairy tale life for them - one she imagines she might have had. Then one day she sees Jess kissing someone else. And then she sees on the news that the woman she calls Jess is missing. Rachel takes her information to the police - but can't leave it be and she slowly insinuates herself into the investigation.....

The Girl on the Train is told from three different viewpoints - that of Rachel, the missing woman and Rachel's ex-husband's new wife.

But it is Rachel driving the story - and she is a deliciously unreliable narrator. She drinks to blackout and often cannot remember where she has been or what she has done. But the flashes of clarity she does have frighten her...

"Something happened, I know it did. I can't picture it, but I can feel it. I'm frightened, but I'm not sure what I'm afraid of, which just exacerbates the fear."

The missing woman also tells her story, leading up to the day she disappears. She too is an unreliable narrator, concealing her past and lying about her present.

Hawkins keeps the reader guessing as the story twists and turns, changing with every revelation, memory and action. Who is telling the truth? What did really happen? I had my suspicions as the number of pages left to read dwindled and literally couldn't put the book down until I finished. (Pick a nice lazy day to start The Girl on the Train - you won't want to do anything else)

Hawkins' depiction of alcoholism is troubling but highly effective as a plot device. I've also traveled by rail and was easily able to put myself in a seat looking out - wondering about someone else's life.

The Girl on the Train is a great psychological thriller and is absolutely recommended. Dreamworks Studio has also optioned the movie rights
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LibraryThing member fyrefly98
Summary: Every morning on the commuter train, Rachel can see into the same row of back gardens as the train stops at a signal. In that minute or two every morning, she watches the couple that lives in one of those houses, who she's nicknamed Jess and Jason. They look like they have a perfect, happy, stable marriage, something that the recently divorced Rachel can only dream about. Until one day Rachel sees Jess kissing someone who isn't Jason... and then the next day Jess (whose real name is Megan) goes missing. Now Rachel has information that might help determine what happened to Megan, but getting involved means digging up painful - and potentially dangerous - secrets about her own past.

Review: Mystery-thrillers and unreliable narrators aren't my usual fare - I probably only read them once or twice a year. But if this book is going to be my one foray into the genre this year, it was a good pick, and I absolutely understand why it's been on the receiving end of so much hype. It's told from three perspectives: Rachel's, in the "present day"; Megan's, starting about a year previously; and Anna's, Rachel's ex-husband's new wife. It becomes apparent early on that none of these women are exactly telling the truth, but it's not an "unreliable narrator" story in that the narrators are lying to us, the readers, but because they're lying to themselves. That's what makes it such an interesting book psychologically, trying to sort out what's real and what's a self-serving lie or a biased perception, and then thinking about our own lives and our own biases and blind spots. This book is very well built - there's a slow teasing out of clues and hints and a few red herrings and a gradual building of revelations and tension in equal measure. (All of which makes it hard to write an effective summary without giving too much away!) It's paced extremely effectively, and it's very easy to fall into and keep reading, waiting for each successive piece to fall into place. I didn't figure things out much before the characters did, but the resolution made good sense with what had come before, which is what I want from my mysteries (figuring it out too early's no fun, but having it be so convoluted that you can't figure it out even once it's handed to you is no fun either.) And all of this is important in keeping this book readable, because all of its characters - and I do mean pretty much all of them - are really unlikeable. Which is almost certainly a function of the "everyone's lying to everyone about everything without even knowing it" vibe of the novel, and would usually get in the way of my enjoyment of a book, but in this case I was invested enough in the mystery that I had no problem staying involved in the book and reading through it quite quickly. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Gone Girl is the obvious read-alike, with the narrators all giving self-serving versions of events. In general, if you like a good, well-plotted psychological thriller, this book will definitely fit the bill.
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LibraryThing member nicx27
I love a good psychological thriller, and yes, this was a good one. Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced from Tom who now has a new wife, Anna, and a baby daughter who all still live in the house Rachel shared with Tom. Rachel takes the train everyday into London and passes her old house every time she goes there and back. She becomes fascinated by a couple in one of the other houses and concocts an idea of what their lives are like in her head but one day she sees something that spoils her view of them as the perfect couple.

This book has been compared to Rear Window and I can see why. The idea of almost spying on people going about their lives and seeing something that changes everything. There are several unreliable narrators telling the story and because of that I never really knew who was telling the truth and who to trust. This aspect really kept me guessing until the end of the book approached.

It lost a star because, like so many of this genre of book, there has to be a certain lack of believability to make the book work and I found this at the beginning of the book. But once I got to half way I raced through it and could hardly put it down. It's plotted well to bring all the strands together and this was where the different narrators worked because they all believed different things. I really enjoyed reading this book.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing a copy for review.
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LibraryThing member alanteder
I had noticed "The Girl on the Train" in bookstores earlier this year, but having read the back cover promo it sounded like it was going to be something like the Hitchcock film "Rear Window" but done from a train. That didn't really intrigue me that much, so I let it go at the time.
After I saw it appearing on many "Best of 2015" lists (e.g. Goodreads Choice Awards Best Mystery & Thriller 2015, The Guardian Best Mysteries/Thrillers of 2015, etc.) I thought I would still give it a go.
Having read it now, the short version is that it is really nothing like "Rear Window", but it also wasn't that much of a thriller and the mystery element was also somewhat reduced (despite a few red herrings, the Roger Ebert "Law of the Economy of Characters" from the film world did carry over into the writing world).
If you are unsure about this novel, you can probably sample the style in the library or bookstore just from the first 10 or 20 pages or so. The suspense doesn't really change much for about 260 pages (out of a total 320 pages in my edition). So if it isn't grabbing you right from the get-go, then you are probably in for a pretty slow crawl until the twist comes.
I've seen a lot of references to "Gone Girl" in the publicity and other reviews, but I was completely swept along by "Gone Girl" and was so engrossed with switching constantly from Team Amy to Team Nick and back again. In "The Girl on the Train" I didn't find any characters to identify with or root for. All of them were unappealing and the erstwhile heroine Rachel is painted in the most unsympathetic light possible by being a messy drunk all the way through. You root for characters like Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder who are fighting their alcoholism but if a character is just wallowing in it there is no character arc or journey to root for.
This is just me. There are some very polarized views about this book, so you just have to decide which one is yours and be that.
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LibraryThing member niaomiya
Well, appropriately enough, this book read like a train - started off at a moderate speed and then got faster and faster. The book is told from the viewpoints of three different women, whose lives are intertwined. I started off thinking I would give the book 3 stars, since I so disliked the main character Rachel, who does all the narrating at first. Then as the story went along, I was thinking I would give the book 4 stars, because I could better understand how Rachel's irritating personality fit into the plot. And then through the last 1/3 or so of the book, I upped my stars to 5, because as much as I continued to dislike Rachel, I started to develop sympathy for her. And it wasn't just Rachel. The other main women in the story, Anna and Megan - the other narrators - aren't all that likable either, but as with Rachel, I developed some sympathy for them later on in the book. And everything fit into the conclusion.

The premise of "The Girl on the Train" is intriguing: Every day Rachel takes the train into London. Every day the train passes a house where a married couple live, and every day Rachel observes them in their daily life as the train passes by. But one day when the train passes by the couple's house, Rachel sees something out of the ordinary. When she decides to take action, she gets herself into one heck of a mess.

Rachel makes bad decisions. Very bad decisions. And it made me cringe every time she did something stupid that she shouldn't have. I wanted to shake her and yell at her to stop. How frustrated she made me was part of what made me ambivalent in how I was going to rate the book. I had to consciously separate my dislike of Rachel from how I felt about the book. By the time I finished the book - and I could not put it down for that last 1/3 when everything was coming to a head - author Paula Hawkins had convinced me that I really liked it. So I took the average of the 3, 4, and 5 stars that I wanted to give the book as I was reading along; final verdict? A solid 4 stars.
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LibraryThing member Gingermama
Start this book when you have a chunk of time to spare, because you won't want to put it down. Twists and turns and red herrings aplenty, and the suspense builds gradually as you discover the secrets and hidden motivations of each of the main characters. Highly recommended.
LibraryThing member Itzey
One fine day in July of 2013 Rachel, face planted against the train window, spots “a pile of clothing on the side of the train tracks. Light-blue cloth – a shirt, perhaps – jumbled up with something dirty white.”
She points out the fact that she has an overactive imagination (and she tells us that Tom thought so too). Did something nefarious happen here or did a trainman discard some soiled garment?

Rachel is traveling toward London on the slow lurching 8:04 morning train from Ashbury. The train judders along each day and at one point passes modest Victorian houses backed up against the tracks. In the evenings, the 5:56 train creeps back past the same houses and over time she has crafted a fictional existence for the residents. Every day, coming and going, the train stops at a faulty signal for a few seconds and she gets a little more time to watch her favorite trackside house: number fifteen. Rachel doesn’t know the couple but she has named them “Jess and Jason”. In her mind’s eye, this is the idyllic couple. Jason works hard to support Jess, serves her coffee in bed and anticipates her every need. Jess stays home and languishes until Jason returns every night to keep her safe and comforted.

The train also passes by house number twenty-three. It just so happens that this was Rachel’s first home. Now divorced and despite the pain it brings, Rachel can’t pass the house she loved so much without looking at it from the train window. This day in July of 2013, Rachel observes the wife (whose name we learn is Anna) watering roses; roses that Rachel planted years ago. She also knows Anna’s husband, Tom. He had been Rachel’s husband and they had lived in that house too.

Rachel’s home for the past two years has been a spartan room rented from an old college acquaintance. They really were not friends in college and still are not although they live under the same roof…for now.

Rachel travels back and forth on the train with her favorite crutch every day; a bottle or two of booze. It is readily apparent that Rachel likes to drink. Often. A lot. Anywhere. She drowns her pain and misery and at some point most days, her memory.

The story shifts back a year to March 2012 and shows up in the master bedroom of house number fifteen. Rachel’s “Jess” is actually named Megan and she, too, uses the rhythm of the rails to stimulate her imagination. She dreams of an exotic life of adventure much further down the line; far away from the raucous train sounds. As she plans for an evening out with her husband, Megan hears loud screams and the sound of a child crying in the backyard of house number twenty-three. She observes two women struggling over a child. Finally one walks dejectedly away and the mother we know is named Anna scrambles into the house carrying her crying child. Megan becomes curious and volunteers to baby-sit to find out what the ruckus was about…

Rachel was happily married to Tom. Or so she thought. As time passes, her life crumbles as she realizes that she is incapable of bearing a child and Tom becomes disgusted and unhappy with her. She changes from an attractive wife to a frump and a drunk in Tom’s eyes. He wanders into Anna’s arms and eventually out of Rachel’s life. But not before he destroys Rachel’s confidence and mental stability. She turns to alcohol to sooth the rough edges. The deeper she falls in her depression and drunkenness, the more she loses. Eventually she has loses everything including her husband, her job, her credibility her self-respect and very nearly her only friend.

Anna is supremely happy as a mistress and falls for Tom’s charms and false adoration. She is convinced by Tom that Rachel’s alcoholism has crushed his marriage. Tom spreads the charm deep enough to swallow up Anna’s life just as he had previously with Rachel. Anna becomes pregnant. In her mind the perfect marriage has become the perfect family. Trouble blooms in paradise when Rachel refuses to believe that Tom doesn’t still love her and begins to stalk the Anna, Tom and the baby. Rachel begins to call late at night over and over.

Down the street in house number fifteen, Megan and Scott present the image of a happily married couple. Megan, however, leads a duplicitous life that she struggles to hide from Scott. Would it be fair to say that Megan is a closet nymphomaniac? Or perhaps in a kinder vein, just plain messed up and seeks pleasure in all the wrong places? Scott is very insecure and has a jealous streak a mile wide. A large imposing man, he reacts violently when provoked. Scott unable to decipher why he feels Megan is unhappy and encourages her to seek therapy. When it appears that she is happier, he is comforted. Right up until the day that she disappears. Did she run off with the therapist? Or has she become the victim of horrible tragedy.

These three households swirl in a tragic symbiotic universe where one of them pays the ultimate price with their life.

Each of the major characters is severely flawed and socially immature. Having said that, I found that the flaws of each were so similar that I had difficulty separating them and at times not sure who was speaking. They all desperately try to find individual fulfillment through the lives of someone else. They are sad group of people.

I can’t say I totally disliked the book because that is not true. I just grew weary of the Debbie-downer dreary story and had to put the book down many times to take a breather. Women having to define their image through the eyes of their husband’s depress me.

The scenes that were intended to be suspenseful just seemed drawn out to me. Unlike some very well crafted psychological thrillers that give me goose bumps, I just couldn’t get invested in the story, as it was clear to me early where the story would lead.

In all I would judge the book readable but not terribly fulfilling. But undoubtedly it will make a popular film.

This is the author’s first thriller fiction. A good starter book and she should try again…soon.
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LibraryThing member HeatherLINC
This book has been compared to "Gone Girl" but I found that while the characters were dysfunctional and quite repulsive, "The Girl on the Train" lacked the complexity and chilling suspense that "Gone Girl" had. Told from three women's perspective i found the plot was a bit predictable and it was easy to work out who the murderer was. Overall, an okay read, but don't be expecting another "Gone Girl".… (more)
LibraryThing member littlel
It was painfully hard to read and I gave up halfway. The characters are shallow caricatures: annoying and stereotypical. It lacks a sensible, deep plot and the action flounders into melodrama halfway through. I've read other reviews saying the ending is terrible, and at this point I'd rather save my very limited reading time for something well written, with decent plot driven characters and excellent writing.… (more)
LibraryThing member vnesting
Boy, talk about your unreliable narrators! Rachel rides the train every day to and from London and over time she imagines lives for a couple she frequently sees on her journey. Then one day she sees the woman with another man and the next day she learns that the woman is missing, feared dead. Can Rachel help the investigation or hinder it by telling authorities what she saw -- or thought she saw? While Rachel is the primary narrator, there are two others. Even if you don't particularly like any of them, the story draws you in and keep you turning the pages faster and faster as you try to figure out what really happened.… (more)
LibraryThing member katiekrug
I am not sure how I feel about this one. It started off very slowly for me but eventually became quite a page-turner. The problem was that I can't tell if the central premise was clever or kind of a cop-out. Without giving too much away, the book concerns the disappearance of a young woman and how another woman becomes obsessed with it. But she is an alcoholic and has major blackouts so are her impressions and fragmented memories real? Or is she just an "unreliable witness," as the police label her? Some of the plot stretches plausibility, but it was such a compelling read that Hawkins must have done something right.

In my rating system, 3.5 stars is right in the middle of solid and enjoyable and very good. That seems about right.
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LibraryThing member hubblegal
Through most of this book, I thought "wow, this is a 5 star book for me" as I really enjoyed the fast-paced story. But at some point, I could see the end coming and the last fourth of the book fell a bit flat for me. All in all, it was a fun read and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for an entertaining bit of diversion.
LibraryThing member Berly
[The Girl on the Train] is a mess! No, not the book, the heroine. She is mourning a failed marriage and drowning her sorrows in booze. Everyday she rides to work and and fantasizes perfect lives for the people she sees through the train window. Then one day she reads something in the newspaper about one of "her" families. And a memory is triggered. Did she see something or was it just her imagination? Was it the booze? Unsure of herself, Rachel finds herself walking into the neighborhood to dig deeper.

Told through the eyes of one of the best unreliable narrators ever, this mystery is a page turner. I didn't necessarily love the main character, but I desperately wanted to know what happened. I had several suspects and with each twist I would change my mind. It's him! No, it's not. Her! Nope, back to him. Not him; how about the other guy? How well do you know the people in your life? How much can you trust a stranger? Definitely a good read.
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LibraryThing member bookishtexpat
I thought "The Girl on the Train" was a fantastic read and suspenseful story. I enjoyed the way Hawkins wrote, breaking up the story into character, date, and time. It added an extra layer of setting and context to the plot. The only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is because none of the characters were particularly likable, though I also don't think Hawkins meant for any of them to be the hero/good guy.
Looking for a quick but quality read? Definitely pick up "The Girl on the Train."
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LibraryThing member gubry
This book is pretty good in that everybody in it is terrible so you really second guess and wonder whodunnit. I was practically accusing everybody even though I had guessed, correctly, whodunnit a long time ago and early in the novel, but the way the author writes it makes you think that it's somebody else--it just has to be--because of this reason, but then she pulls the rug from under you and you think that maybe it's that person.… (more)
LibraryThing member FAR2MANYBOOKS
This is one of those books that I found it hard to like any of the characters, but, pardon the pun, like a train wreck, it was hard to look away, and I felt compelled to learn what would happen. I was also compelled to find out why, oh, why these women were such a “hot mess”.

Between an alcoholic, a liar and a cheat, who can you trust while they are telling their story? That was a clever approach to a book. The unrelenting bleakness of Rachel’s situation was difficult to bear. The characters were consistently (counting my blessings) difficult to relate to, dealing with a multitude of serious dysfunction from addiction, infidelity, murder, abuse, obsession, mental illness and life-altering guilt. But I read it to the end to find out what happened…very clever of the author, if you ask me.
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LibraryThing member bereanna
A depressed woman creates stories for the people she sees as she passes their homes while on the train. One couple in particular she fantasizes about having a perfect, loving marriage until she sees the woman kissing another man. The news reports the woman missing and the train-rider gets involved in her case. A surprise ending brings understanding to the main character...and the reader. This book made me feel as though I was going through her depression and drinking. Very good writing, but a little on the miserable side, despite the fact that I read like crazy to see what would happen.… (more)
LibraryThing member sylliu
A fun, fast psychological thriller in the Gone Girl-vein. The alcoholic, amnesiac main character makes for a delightfully unreliable narrator, and the story told from three women's perspectives creates an intricate puzzle of murder, betrayal, spousal secrets, and suburban angst. The reader is kept guessing "who did it" with clues sprinkled throughout pointing to each of the main characters. The ending did not come as a huge surprise, but it was satisfying, including the twist at the end.

Looking at the casting for the upcoming movie, I'm a bit disappointed that they cast a beautiful actress (Emily Blunt) instead of the wonderfully messy, overweight, falling-apart character that is described in the book.
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1594633665 / 9781594633669
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