The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

Ever wonder what it feels like to feel invisible to the world around you, even when you most certainly are around and surviving? Ever feel like you are making a mockery of your life, yet the downward spiral that you are on shows no end to stopping, and you have no motivation to stop it either? But then, one day, you notice something strange happen? And that strange thing, turns into multiple unusual happenings and eventually murder, that you then find yourself in the middle of? Welcome to the life of alcoholic Rachel.

Rachel is a divorced woman, who used to be married to Tom, and now lives with her best friend. Tom married Anna, whom he had an affair with and now has a child with. Rachel’s drunkenness leads to many blackouts and unrecoverable events, including phone calls to Tom, being in town, sending emails, etc.

Rachel rides a train into town every day to her job. On the train she looks out the window and where the train always makes a quick unavoidable stop, she sees her old house, where she used to live with Tom and Tom now lives with Anna, and next to that house is a home with a couple in it that she names Jess and Jason. She imagines their love to be perfect. One day she notices that the man that Jess is with isn’t the same man as Jason, and he isn’t being as gentle with Jess as he should be.

One day, Megan (Jess’s real name) goes missing. Rachel gets launched into the middle of the investigation because she was seen down the block from where Megan disappeared. She tries to tell the investigators what she saw from the train, but because of her drunken reputation, she isn’t reliable to them. A few days later, Megan’s body is discovered nearby in the woods. Rachel does her best to do her own detective work, much to the dismay of Anna, who is scared of Rachel and her constant harassment, but ends up only becoming more under suspicion herself.

By the end of the novel, more than Rachel’s secrets alone are revealed. The novel does go between Megan, Anna, and Rachel. But, at the top of each new chapter is a heading with which character it will be about. The mind-hopping between characters allows the reader to see the full story and able to truly understand the full story of everything. This book shows that anything can be skewed with only limited facts, including perception based on what you think you see and what you really see when people look very similar to one another. It shows that you can’t truly know a person or know whether or not to trust someone and that sometimes, trust comes from the most unlikely places.


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