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Book Author: Paula Hawkins

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins: Book Review

There’s a good reason that The Girl on the Train is a #1 New York Times best-seller.  It’s a fabulous read.

Rachel is the girl on the train and one of the book’s narrators.  She’s been fired from her job in the city but still tells her best friend, in whose house she’s renting a room, that she goes to work every day.

This daily train trip creates a problem for her.  The train passes the house she and her ex-husband Tom lived in when they were married and where he lives now with his new wife and child.  It also passes another house on that street where a young couple named Megan and Scott live; although she doesn’t even know their names, Rachel has created a fantasy life for them in her mind.

Megan is the second narrator we meet.  She’s outwardly happy, but she’s hiding a secret from years ago that is tormenting her and making her put herself in dangerous situations.  Rachel doesn’t know Megan and Scott, but in her imaginary world she has re-named them Jess and Jason and made them the perfect couple, and her obsessive fascination with them is the spark for the novel’s tragedy.

Anna is the third narrator.  Anna was Tom’s mistress during his marriage to Rachel, and she has no regrets about her part in their breakup.  She does regret that she has to live in the house that Tom lived in during his first marriage, but he tells her they can’t afford to move.  In addition, she is bothered because Tom can’t seem to get rid of Rachel, who calls and texts him constantly, going so far as to enter their house without their knowledge or permission.  Why does she persist in these behaviors, Anna wonders, when she knows Tom doesn’t want her?

The tensions in the three women grow to the breaking point.  Each is intertwined in the others’ lives both knowingly and unknowingly.  Rachel and Anna, of course, are aware of each other, but Rachel doesn’t know Megan or anything about her until well into the novel.  However, when Rachel does get entangled in Megan’s life, it leads to the climax that pulls all the threads together.

The Girl on the Train is a terrific thriller, with characters the reader can relate to and in whom they can believe.  We may not want to have any of these women or the men in their lives as friends, but we can understand their foibles and problems, even sympathizing with them while at the same time condemning their actions.  That’s real life, and Paula Hawkins shows it to us.

You can read more about Paula Hawkins at this web site.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her web site.