The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins | Mini Review

Posted December 5, 2016 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Reviews / 5 Comments

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins | Mini ReviewThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Published by Riverhead Books on July 12th 2016
Pages: 324 •Goodreads

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. 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 goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

The thing about thrillers is that it’s usually best to write a review right after finishing it, because all of the twists, turns, and plot reveals and emotions they evoked as so fresh in your mind. However, with The Girl on the Train, I was so tired of it by the time I finally finished that I wasn’t motivated to jot down my thoughts. My expectations were let down and I had no desire to relive the experience anytime soon. So now, a little over a month later, I’m catching up on reviews and struggling to remember the emotions that this book evoked other than boredom.

I was ALL OVER this book initially, considering the movie was receiving so much hype (and I really like Emily Blunt). I put off seeing the movie because I really wanted to read the book before I saw the movie (which I heard from many friends and coworkers was really good). Unfortunately, it took me so long to finish this book that I pretty much missed the opportunity to see the movie in theaters. While I didn’t love Gone Girl, I found it to be a very engaging read, and all of the comparisons to it enticed me. However, I found The Girl on the Train to be painfully slow to get through, especially in the first half. I understand unlikable protagonists have their place and you don’t have to like a protagonist to find them compelling, but Rachel was SO depressing and pathetic that I was legitimately angered by listening to her inner monologue and reading about the choices she made. It was so, so repetitive and I found that I couldn’t become engaged in the narrative and really only finished it out of a sense of obligation because I paid for the book.

I also struggled to become super invested in the mystery itself. I realized I was over halfway through the book and felt like I was still waiting for the mystery element to pick up and really get into the “whodunnit” vibe. I had some suspicions that turned out correctly, but I also found the big reveal sort of implausible to be honest View Spoiler » I suppose when you get right down to it I felt that the characters weren’t super complex or nuanced in their motivations, and therefore I had a hard time believing that things escalated to the point they did, and that certain characters managed to hide what they did from others so well. The lack of interest in the characters, for me, was really what killed the Gone Girl comparisons that everyone was talking about, since Amy was so, so twisted and complex.

Overall: This book was the slowest thriller I’ve ever read, and felt more like a study in reading about miserable and unsatisfied middle aged people rather than a mystery. I hardly ever say this, but I probably should’ve just seen the movie instead.

Verdict_ Underwhelming



Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Goodreads Challenge 2016


5 responses to “The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins | Mini Review

  1. This book has received so many mixed review! It is still just sitting on my shelf unread. I am sure I will read it someday, but I am not in any hurry. Although, I still want to read it before I watch the movie, whenever that comes out on DVD.

    • Yep, I was trying so hard to get it read before the movie left theaters, but I found it such a slow read that I wasn’t able too! Although I didn’t enjoy it, I’m still eager to watch the movie because I have heard pretty positive things about it!

    • I actually preferred the Gone Girl movie too! (I enjoyed the book more than I did The Girl on the Train, however I still didn’t LOVE it). I’m crossing my fingers it comes to Netflix soon because I heard SO many good things about the movie, and it would be nice to watch it while the book is still fresh in my mind!

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