Review: The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book should aptly be called, Drunk Girl on Train: Crime Solver Edition. I’ve never seen the mechanism of drunkenness used for the slow reveal of ‘who dunnit?’. It’s brilliant, in a way. Without giving too much away: one girl is a messed-up drunk; another girl is a messed-up housewife; another girl..well..we don’t know too much of her present, just some messed-up, dark issues of her past. The book starts with a mysterious burial of a body and then later reveals a person gone missing. The comparisons to GONE GIRL are not without merit.

I’m going to judge this book on “are we there yet?” moments versus “Holy Crap!!” moments. That’s what we expect from a GONE GIRL-like book, right? That made-into-a-movie book had back-and-forth narratives that twisted us around, shocked us, and left us begging to know what was going to happen. Until the crappy ending (please don’t disappoint us again, Gillian Flynn). Yes, I’ll judge this hopetfully-future-movie book on the ending, too. Just hang on.

The first few chapters have that “Holy Crap!!” build-up. First the dedication to the buried body, then the crazy girl-with-issues on the train, ripping Band-Aids off her skin, digging nails into her wounds. Initial impression: this book is going to be CRAY-zy! Not quite. At least not from cover-to-cover.

As the narratives flip back and forth and the fog of blacked-out drunkness begin to lift around 200 pages into it, you begin to wonder, “are we there yet?” Characters are developed in a solid manner, but you wonder if they are withholding information. That’s irksome. If a book doesn’t have a lot of action or twists, then tell us what’s happening! Such a tease.

But I have to say, almost all is forgiven in the last several chapters of the book. Things get intense! Again, no spoilers here. Maybe those apparent lulls were a sign of skillful writing: it was all anticipation and build-up. And unlike GONE GIRL, I was actually satisfied with the ending. Kickass girls FTW!! (For the win.)

This book is a page-turner that is great for the summer beaches. It has more “Holy Crap!!” than “are we there yet?” moments; in my opinion, that equals a net gain!

Don’t take my word for it: look at the thousands of other folks on Amazon giving this book an average of 4.5 stars! The Girl on the Train


9 thoughts on “Review: The Girl on the Train

  1. bibliosa

    I was eyeing this at the library the other day, but wasn’t sure. Now I am! I too was so disappointed with Gone Girl’s ending, and I can’t wait to read something that leaves me satisfied.

    1. ryandejonghe Post author

      That’s awesome–I didn’t know it was already slated to be a movie. Considering I’ve taken that train into New York many times, I totally related to many of the early chapters of the book: the houses it passes by; the day-to-day passengers.

  2. Pingback: Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood | Ryan's Book Review

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