When you come across a book title wherever you go, you give a credit to a proper marketing campaign but still get hooked. Especially when googling this book reviews you click on a link with a trailer of the movie with the same title. Paula Hawkins‘ debut novel The Girl on the Train has gone viral in any sense. Who knows, maybe a magic world „girl“ is to blame for such a success…
After The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy there came a great number of successors keen to fall under the rays of glory of their predecessor. The last ones I have read were Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Girl in the Spider‘s Web by David Lagerscrantz, Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter and The Girl in 6E by Alessandra Torre. Doesn‘t sound very creative but despite the title some of them have made a splendid career of their own like Gone Girl.
The Girl on the Train is an absolute page-turner with a non-conventional unfolding of the plot. Perhaps, it‘s a fashionable trend among the crime writers to mix and twist the plot in a vortex in order to misguide and confuse the reader and even make him doubt every sentence he‘s reading by presenting the story from different perspectives, i.e. the same story told by different characters.
It is also the case with The Girl on the Train. We‘ve got a puzzle told by three main female characters Rachel, Anna and Megan. Who‘s a reliable story-teller and who‘s not? Rachel is the one meant by the book title. Every day she travels to London on the train passing by the house she used to live with her husband Tom. Well, her ex-husband. Tom cheated on her and left for another woman Anna and they both are now living in Rachel‘s house with a baby daughter.
As her ex-house revokes the memories of her past marital life, Rachel directs her attention to a neighboring house with a young couple in it. Rachel doesn‘t know them in person, but she imagines them as a perfect couple leading a happy life. Not until one morning she witnesses the wife being kissed by another man.
Feeling betrayed again Rachel decides to visit the couple‘s house but at that moment she‘s almost ruined her life by keeping herself intoxicated with cans of gin and tonic and bottles of wine. Therefore, no wonder that the next morning she finds herself in her bed with a bleeding head and no memory of the last night events. Nothing at all. But what awful thoughts cross her mind when Rachel finds out that Megan – this unfaithful wife – has disappeared the very same evening.
The rest of the story should be explored by the readers themselves. Otherwise it would spoil a pleasure of a gripping reading in order to get to the core of the truth. Is it a husband to blame for her disappearance, as it usually happens? Did Megan run with her lover? Will Rachel‘s memories come back to her? And is her ex-husband Tom really so patronizing and defending Rachel from his new wife Anna?
The final twist is meant to be totally unpredictable, though a true crime story lover should know better. Anyway, the novel serves its purpose to engage and hope for the worst, hence compliments for the author. However, the same writing scheme won‘t work for the second time. Let‘s hope that Paula Hawkins has a different breed of rabbits in her hat.