The first book that got me back into obsessive reading a few years ago was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I suggested it instantly to everyone who asked and went on to read the other two books Flynn has written, she has a special place in my heart and I will follow her forever! So when I saw an interview on MSNBC with Paula Hawkins defending why The Girl on the Train wasn't Gone Girl, but was a similar thriller- I was interested. After a bit of research (and going to like 5 bookstores that couldn't keep it on the shelf) I heard that the book went to the best-sellers list after a week or something insanely quick. I read the book over the course of like 3 days, its super quick and I love a good mystery, leaving it a highly rated suggested book.
"The holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mould yourself through the gaps.” - Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train
The book is told by 3 different narrators, unfolding around the confusion of a night with blurry details, possibly where a crime was committed. Each chapter is a different time stamp, so is flashes in and out of the course of a year mainly, weaving through how the characters are connected.
From Goodreads: Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. 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 offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
“But I did become sadder, and sadness gets boring after a while, for the sad person and for everyone around them.” - Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train
My favorite thing about this book was how its characters are all pretty selfish and twisted, but they are all super concerned with how lame their life is, and how everyone else's functions, but because of the different narrators, you realize thats not true. It seems like human nature to compare yourself to everyone around you, but how much do you really know about others lives? Obviously I was drawn to the suspense of it all and the build up, but I think I was more interested in the repeated actions of the characters. The ones who were sunken so low were trying to down-play their depression while the truly cruel ones were trying to fit in the most.
I watched an interview recently (not the MSNCB one) about how the characters of Gone Girl were plotting their demise, where as in The Girl on the Train, the plot more or less just unfolds without intention- the crime itself is committed to cover-up their drama.
There is a lot of emphasis in this book about the suburbs, and how every house is the same with people just coexisting on the inside, with day-to-day lives. I grew up in a suburban sprawl and that has always fascinated me as well! This is honestly a really great read for anyone who just loves stories, its non-committal, you would be able to talk about it often because many people have read it, and you just cannot put it down until you figure out what the hell is going on. If you haven't read it yet, do! And if you have, which characters did you sympathize with? I love a good villain, but by the end I wanted them all to fail. (ha!)