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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

The Girl On The Train

This psychological thriller by British author Paula Hawkins had me hooked right from the beginning and I couldn't put it down until I read the final page. Yes, it's that good. I'm listening to an audible version The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell when I run and am finding it tough going. I was glad to sit down with a book I could read cover-to-cover in two days.
The story has three female narrators, Rachel, Megan and Anna, whose lives intersect under tragic circumstances.
Rachel is 'the girl on the train'.  She is an overweight, heartbreakingly lonely alcoholic whose marriage has ended; she has been dismissed from her job for drinking. She rides the train from the suburbs into London each day, maintaining the charade that she still has a job to go to. The train passes by her old neighbourhood and her matrimonial home where her ex-husband lives with his new wife and their baby. Rather than focusing on her own lost life she stares at a neighbouring house inhabited by a young couple. She fabricates identities for them - Jess and Jason - and imagines their perfect life.
'Jess' is actually Megan who disappears from her seemingly happy home. Rachel, feeling she knows the couple (although she doesn't) insinuates herself into the subsequent police investigation and the life of Megan's husband, Scott. Doing so raises the ire of her ex and his wife who do not wish to see her weaving drunkenly around their neighbourhood.
Anna is the wife of Tom, the ex-husband who Rachel still loves. Anna is sick and tired of Rachel's inebriated phone calls to their home and fears that she may be disturbed enough to harm their baby girl.
Each and every character in this story is flawed and unlikeable and I figured out whodunit about half way through but that didn't interfere with my enjoyment at all because the story is so well-executed. The book is enormously popular and has been compared to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl but I thought The Girl On The Train was more plausible because it didn't involve a complicated coverup.

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