Hey, book lovers.
So I just finished reading this wonderful thriller called ‘The Girl On The Train’ by Paula Hawkins, and I’m kind of blown away. I bought this one a good while back but read other books first, and leant it to my mother, who then told me she had loved it and couldn’t put it down, and then after that I recommended it to my boyfriend’s mother because she was looking for a good read aswell. It was only this week that I actually decided to give it a go, but I’m rather happy I did.
It all starts with Rachel Watson, a young woman who catches the commuter train to London every morning, becoming fascinated with everything she sees as she passes, the houses, the shops, the countryside, the people. Rachel loves to daydream, imagining people and creating events and stories in her head, and she does exactly that for the people living in one of those houses she passes each morning and each evening, whom she calls Jess and Jason, the perfect, happy couple. Or, so she imagines. In her first-person narrative, Rachel tells us that she used to live in the house a few doors down, that her life was ideal then, that she misses it deeply, but we don’t really find out the reason until we are deeper into the story, when she tells us of her ex-husband Tom and his mistress, Anna, who live in that house with their small child, Evie. Rachel passes their house each day, looking out at the bedroom she used to share with her husband and the life she once called her own, but still she continues, until one day everything changes. We find out that ‘Jess’ and ‘Jason’ are really Megan and Scott Hipswell, and Megan cared for Evie for a short while, needing to find something to do with herself and her own life. It is later, when Megan suddenly goes missing, after a night that Rachel witnessed but was too drunk to remember, when the story becomes more complex and Rachel becomes involved in the story and the lives she has seen unfold from the train.
I really sympathised with Rachel throughout the story. You soon discover that, before her husband Tom left her for his mistress, she was desperate for a child. She wanted a family, but she couldn’t conceive, and her husband wasn’t as willing as she was to try to pay for the costly IVF treatments. It made her desperate and depressed, and her drinking started. She lost her job, but still continued to take the same trains she had lost so that her friend and roommate wouldn’t notice, so that it wouldn’t bother her. Tom left her for Anna and his mistress moved her into his home, and their daughter was born.
One of the things I think I loved the most about this book was the characterisation and the complex links that become drawn between them. Soon, while Megan is missing, Rachel makes the decision to tell Scott that she saw his wife sharing a kiss with another man, Megan’s therapist, Kamal Abdic, and when they later discover Megan’s body, he is one of the detectives’ main focuses. In this time, Rachel becomes closer to Scott and develops an attachment to him that she cannot seem to understand or explain herself. One night he comes back to her room and they sleep together.
The book is narrated alternatingly by the three women: Rachel, Megan, and Anna. I loved that. You were able to read the perspectives of each as the story unfolded, with the investigation into Megan’s murder, which made it far more appealing, I think, than if it had only been Rachel’s narrations. Rachel travels across to Witney, to this tiny village beside the train tracks, several times. She visits Scott and they talk, she tells him what she has learned.
There were the occasional narrations from Megan, before she died. We learn that when she was younger, still a child at seventeen years old, she and an old lover moved in together and had a child. Lost and afraid, and unable to care for her child, sadly, her little daughter passed away when she fell asleep with her in the bathtub. Scott, of course, feels awfully betrayed when he learns this information, which Megan had shared with the therapist in her sessions. Megan was constantly bored, before she died. She longed to look elsewhere, outside her supposedly happy life with her husband, feeling a longing for her therapist, and then Rachel’s ex-husband and Anna’s husband, Tom. They later discover that they had an affair and it was Tom that murdered Megan.
Anna has never been sympathetic to Rachel, but I liked the fact that towards the end, before the story comes to its climax, Rachel discovers the truth and tries to warn her, and Anna begins to believe her. There is a small change, a growing difference in the way they see each other, and when they discover the truth about Megan’s death, when they both confront Tom with the child still in the room, Tom goes for Rachel and she twists the head of a corkscrew into his neck and kills him. They plead self-defence, and the story goes on, with Rachel moving elsewhere and Anna living with her child. I think it was an effective way to end the story, but other people might have different opinions, so you’re free to share with me if you like!
Really loved this book. I only wish I’d picked it up sooner!
Happy reading 😀