Thursday, June 4, 2015

Book Review-The Girl on the Train





I love books with unreliable narrators.  Not only do I have the main plot to enjoy, but I also have the puzzle of which part of the narration is true.  Imagine my delight on finding a book with three narrators, all unreliable!
The Girl on the Train is told by Rachel, Anna, and Megan.  Rachel is the lead narrator, if you will.  She takes the train into and out of London everyday.  It goes by the houses of Anna and Megan slowly enough that Racel often sees Megan and her husband.  She doesn't know Megan so she makes up stories about their life together.  Anna is married to Tom, Rachel's ex husband, who lives in the house that Tom and Rachel lived in.
As Rachel continues her narration we learn that she drinks heavily and is having some trouble coming to terms with her divorce.  When she sees Megan with another man she is disappointed.  The next day Megan goes missing and Rachel feels the need to tell the police and Megan's husband about seeing the strange man.  Her drinking makes this problematic as the police don't believe her, and she was in the neighborhood the night of the disappearence but doesn't remember anything from that night.
When Anna takes over the narration, we learn that she is feeling harrased by Rachel because Rachel calls often and intrudes on her new life with Tom and their baby.  Anna, though, has her own agenda.  She had an affair withTom while he was still married to Rachel.
Megan's narration starts about a year earlier than the rest of the book and describes the problems she is having with her life and marriage...not the perfect marriage that Rachel had invisioned, nor the perfect life.
As the three lines of narration wend their way through the story, you realize that not everything is at it seems.  As a reader, you feel sympathy for first one, then the other.  They are all deeply flawed people, trying to find their ways out of situations, some of which are their own making.
And then there are the men.  Tom, Scott, and the therapist that first Megan, then Rachel, sees.  Any of the characters could have caused Megan's disappearance.  Everyone has skeletons in their respective closets, which make the book very interesting.  It has been compared to Gone Girl quite a bit, partly because of the husband/wife dynamics and partly because of the twist at the end; but the twist wasn't as unexpected as in Gone Girl, and in the end, it wasn't as dark.  This is not a book with a hero in it, and at one point I didn't like any of the characters, but there is character growth.  Definitely a good mystery.

The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train
By Hawkins, Paula
2015-01 - Riverhead Books
9781594633669 Check Our Catalog
Instant #1 "New York Times" Bestseller
"The Girl on the Train" has more fun with unreliable narration than any chiller since "Gone Girl." . . . It] is liable to draw a large, bedazzled readership."--"The New York Times"
"Like its train, the story blasts through the stagnation of these lives in suburban London and the reader cannot help but turn pages."--"The Boston Globe"
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