Hi, guys! I’m Sayari and I’m one of the new members who have started contributing to abookesia and in my first post in this blog, I’ll be discussing The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is the latest fad and has generated rave reviews from both critics and the popular readers alike. This book has recreated the Gone Girl frenzy and the obsession with The Girl on the Train is totally justified and I’ll tell you why. My fellow blogger, Sanchita had been nagging me to read the book for quite some time and I eventually came around to reading the book only a few days ago and it took me less than two days to go through its 316 pages. Yes, the book is THAT interesting and unputdownable!
The Girl on the Train is essentially a thriller although its subplots explore a few other genres as well. While reading this book I realized that it is impossible to discuss the book and even its genres in length without giving away the story. The entire plot has been narrated in first person voice of three female characters – Rachel, Megan and Anna where Rachel is the prime protagonist of the story.
On the first page of the book Rachel appears as just another person you’d see on a train who like thousand others like us is on her daily commute to work and back home. She appears as uninteresting and mundane as any other Plain Jane you know. But Rachel here is actually slightly different. She’s a victim of a broken marriage, unemployment, has lost her home and is slowly sinking into the dark depths of depression, alcoholism and bankruptcy. She’s ever melancholic and is unable to let go of her husband and accept the fact that he’s happy with his new wife and to him she’s just a ghost from the past. Her unreliable mental state and heavy drinking causes her to experience blackouts and complete loss of memory during which she ends up doing/saying things which only make her hate herself even more. Distraught by her broken marriage and unhappiness, Rachel seeks solace in her daily train travel to London. She’s in awe of this beautiful Victorian house that she spots along the tracks and starts fancying its occupants, “Jess and Jason – the perfect couple”. Although she doesn’t know them yet she aspires for a life as beautiful and fulfilling as theirs. To her they are the most beautiful and happy people she’s ever known. Everything is going as expected in Rachel’s life until she sees something so shocking in the ” perfect house”, even if for a minute, that she finds herself drawn into a bizarre situation where she sinks further into the murkier depths of a mystery that is going to change her life forever.
This is literally ALL I can say without spoiling the book for you.
More often than not we tend to dismiss debut work and assume that being their first book, the author is bound to fumble or get too extravagant along the course of the story but Paula Hawkins surprisingly does neither. She’s calm, composed, confident and in complete control of the plot. It is a stylishly written coming-of-age thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat and guessing until the very end. The sentences are short, the storyline crisp and the characters hauntingly beautiful. This is the level of perfection that many seasoned mystery writers had failed to achieve in their debut work. But not Paula, she’s bang on from the very first page of her book.
The character that particularly interested me would be that of Rachel Watson. By writing about Rachel, Hawkins actually writes about each one of us who are bound to turn into a Rachel if we found ourselves in a situation as helpless as hers. It made me wonder how so many of us go about our day so mechanically just to avoid losing a grip of our carefully planned lives and spiralling out of control towards darkness. While analyzing the other two female characters, Anna and Megan, I couldn’t help but notice how even these two women are on different stages of turning into a Rachel. Paula Hawkins seems to have taken extra care in sketching every character in the story and she nails it by making them as complicated as is expected of any thriller. They are raw and terrifying and Hawkins has brilliantly exposed the madman psyche in seemingly normal people. She has dug out the complications of apparently happy families and unhappiness in seemingly content marriages. One must applaud Hawkins’ courage for penning down our deepest fears. With The Girl on the Train, Hawkins has left us astonished and terrified of our own minds. She has dared and her daring has resulted into this wonderful masterpiece which has startled all of us and has left us craving for more from her. If you think that no upcoming thriller could ever beat Gone Girl, you are in for a surprise. The Girl on the Train is in the same league as Gone Girl and is sure to haunt you a long time after you’ve turned the last page. Go pick the book NOW and experience an outstanding thriller. Happy reading to you!