I have to stop looking for happiness elsewhere | The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

There will be spoilers for Gone Girl because I just have to discuss something about it HAHAHA. But don’t worry, no spoilers for The Girl on the Train. (I’m assuming everyone has read or even watched Gone Girl).

Title: The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkins

Publisher: Riverhead Books

Date of Publication: January 13, 2015 

Source: purchased (paperback)

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?

I’m always looking for another Gone Girl, another book that will literally make my jaw drop from the shock. While The Girl on the Train is riveting, it is no Gone Girl, and maybe I should stop looking for Gone Girl-esque books and try to appreciate books as they are. I mean, I should know better, right? But I just can’t let go. (In that manner, Damage Done by Amanda Panitch is Gone Girl-esque in my opinion.)

Which made me realize that the reason why Before I Go to Sleep and The Girl on the Train did not come to Gone Girl levels to me is because we are always looking for the criminal or the perpetrator and you know that it is not the protagonist. There is the compulsion to trust the narrator and in both cases, the narrators are people searching for the truth. It’s a simple whodunnit. Unlike in Gone Girl, wherein the narrator is the psychopath or the criminal or the perpetrator. Which is also why the film adaptation failed because you are geared to trust the narrator and that was Nick Dunne so you don’t get as shocked about Amy’s crazy plot.

As a basic whodunnit, The Girl on the Train was still compelling. Once again, we have an unreliable narrator in Rachel as she frequently blacks out and forgets what happened, due to drinking. She’s an alcoholic and even the police deemed her as unreliable and just a rubbernecker. Which, she actually is too. She hasn’t turned her life around even after two years of being divorced and she actually was spiraling down even more.

She gets embroiled in a police investigation and here’s a woman who, for the first time, feels like she has a purpose. So she ends up lying at times just so she can be involved in the investigation. It’s so hard not to talk about the plot of thrillers, ack!

My first hunch was correct but I let it go and damn, I really regret that. HAHAHA This novel had three perspectives, by the way, but Rachel still tells the majority of the story. I love how dynamic the characterization of these three women are as well.

While I didn’t end up a big fan of Paula Hawkins, I’d still recommend this book for fans of psychological thrillers and I’ll be sure to pick up Paula’s future books too because I know I’ll be in for a wonderful storytelling.

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