Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Girl on the Train - 5 Dysfunctional Pro/Antagonists - What Am I Missing Here?

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, has gotten lots of buzz recently.  In fact, the reason I read it is because so many of my fellow bloggers were praising it.  Well, sports fans, I don't really get it.  There are 5 adults - 3 women and 2 men - who are all dysfunctional and pretty unappealing.  I didn't really care about any of them.  I certainly didn't emotionally connect with any of them.  That doesn't mean I didn't like the book.  I did - somewhat.  It just means that I don't understand all of the rave reviews.

What's it about?  Well, you know who I'm relying on to tell us:

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

There were definitely some interesting elements to both the book and Hawkins' writing:

1.  All of the events basically take place in the morning or evening.  There were no midday scenes.
2.  The 1st 100 pages went back and forth between 2 of the women.  On page 109, the 3rd woman began telling her story.  I liked having another narrator.
3.  Like many other books we've all read, the story alternates between 2 different time periods.  In this case, it's only 2012 and 2013.  And 2012 ultimately catches up to 2013.  I like the back and forth.
4.  At one point, Anna, who was Tom's mistress and then became his wife, talks about how much she enjoyed being a mistress.  It seems she liked being Tom's mistress more than she liked being his wife.

There are simply too many people (including Stacy at Recycle) who really like this book. 3.95/5 for 60,000 ratings on Goodreads and 4/5 for 6,000 ratings on Amazon.  I think you may have to decide on your own and not take my word for it (do you even listen to me anyway?).  If you read it, please let me know if you agree with me or the Mongul hordes.

PERSONAL NOTE:  There is one section that directly reminds of a situation my mom was in.  Anna is suspicious that her husband, Tom, is cheating on her.  She seems to forget that before they were married, he was cheating on his wife, Rachel, with Anna.  When my mom's niece (my 1st cousin) was complaining to my mom that she thought her husband was cheating on her (in the exact same scenario as Anna and Tom), my mom said to her: "How do you think you got him in the 1st place?"  Leave it to my mom to lay out the facts. And even as my memory seems to be slipping at breakneck speed(!), I don't think I'll forget that one.



  1. Well, you know I liked this one a whole lot more than you did. I think Rachel became unlikeable because of her relationship with Tom.

  2. I know that I'm in the minority on this one. Stacy, the manager at Recycle, really liked it too.

  3. I've been wondering if I should read this or not. Thanks for your honest review.

    1. If you read it, Vicki, let me know what you think. I'm pretty sure that everybody else liked it more than me.