This is my long overdue review of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I read it November of 2016 and to finally complete my review for it over six months after only tells you how I like (or not) the book. (Sorry, not sorry)
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins has been advertised as something in the league of the next great contemporary thriller. It’s been hyped up as the next “Gone Girl” so you might understand the kind of expectations I had going into to this book. I started reading the book in October 2016, I was thinking I could finish it in one go or at least in time before the movie was released. Oh, boy was I wrong.
Okay to be fair, I think I shouldn’t have made such high expectations about the book, but cmon! It was being marketed as the next Gone Girl, it should be understandable that I would compare it to just that. But enough about my unavoidable comparisons, and let me go straight to what I liked and didn’t like.
I liked that…
The premise of the story was really promising to me. The first few chapters of the story set the tone of what I can expect from the entire book. I also admire how Hawkins wrote her flawed characters. None of the too perfect, far-fetched or too good to be true personas. She was able to set the precedent that these characters are going to be as real and as human as possible.
But, I didn’t like that…
There seems to be no redeeming quality to the protagonist. At the end of the story, I was waiting for something that might make me like her at least even just one bit. I just didn’t find that thread of connection to her. I found it difficult to immerse myself in the story too and I feel that the switching of POV was not written as seamlessly as it would have. It fails to keep me invested that’s why I found it so easy to postpone finishing the book in favor of another. Portions of the book had me at the edge of my seat, there are some chapters that pushed my anticipation high only to deflate it with another dragging episode of a flashback or unnecessary details.
In the classic whodunit trope, I would say that I was just left wanting when the “big” reveal came to. The ending as much as it wanted to create that open-ended sensation, that Rachel’s story doesn’t really end here, it failed to tickle my fancy. I didn’t want to know more, I was just relieved I finished it.
Maybe I am biased, there’s a big chance that I am, but I feel that the book didn’t even stand a chance to me especially when they market it as the next this or that. I have yet to watch the movie, maybe it might redeem the story or not.
Paula Hawkins has a new book out called Into The Water. I might give it another go but I won’t be rushing to my favorite bookstore anytime soon.
Read: November 28, 2016
The BookNut Verdict: 3 out of 5