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Friday, January 30, 2015

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

No doubt everyone has seen something about Paula Hawkins' new book, The Girl On The Train.  It's been compared to several other books, most notably Gone Girl.  It is indeed a psychological study or at least it seems so to me.  My experience with this book has been odd.  I've shared that Gone Girl was not a favorite of mine.  Perhaps the ending most of all was my undoing there.  The Girl On The Train was a book that I started and stopped, thinking I wasn't going to go forward.  Then I picked it up a couple of days later and read again...and stopped.  Finally, I decided I just had to finish it to see what would happen.  I could have turned to the end and read the last few pages.  I've done that before.  But, not this time.  Have you ever done the whole pick it up and put it down and then finish it anyway dance?

My issues were with Rachel, one of the main characters.  I had such a hard time reading about her self destructive manner of living.  In the end, I was glad I persevered.  I did like this one, mostly.  I did not like all the characters, but I could tolerate what I needed to.  In my opinion, Paula Hawkins' writing was responsible for my returning over and over to the story.  Is it a gifted writer that causes you to go back time and again to a book that you don't think you like?

I think it best if the reader doesn't know much about this book beforehand.  Here's only a little bit.    It's about a woman on a train, Rachel, who looks out the window as she rides and considers and fantasizes about the people she sees.  She has a favorite area to watch and a favorite couple.  She imagines their life and gives them names, Jess and Jason.  She thinks that they must be so happy.  And then the woman goes missing and everything changes.  Rachel can't remember exactly what she's seen because she spends most of her time inebriated.  Nevertheless, she inserts herself into the investigation of the missing woman and finds herself in the middle of something she really didn't expect.

And that's all I'll say.  I'll leave you with a notable quote by one of the many characters:

I'm a good liar.

38 comments:

  1. Kay,

    I enjoyed your review; Rachel definitely was a piece of work!!

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    1. Thanks, Diane! She was pitiful and annoying.

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  2. I read GONE GIRL without having heard anything about its ending, so it took me by surprise. With THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, I had heard whispers, so I was expecting something to be not quite right. In that way, I think the ending was spoiled a little bit for me. Still, I enjoyed THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN. It definitely kept me reading. The book is totally depressing, with plenty of unlikable characters, but it was still a riveting psychological thriller!

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    1. Unlikable indeed, Susan. Yes, I think I read a little too much about the book beforehand. But how can I stop? LOL

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  3. I have not read Gone Girl, but this book seems to be getting a similar reception from readers. Not sure if I'll pick it up or not... might be a good beach read though.

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    1. It's not to everyone's taste JoAnn. Beach read...maybe on a haunted beach. ;-)

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  4. There has been so much buzz for this one. I turned it down as an ARC. It seemed very common to me. Not all that different. But then I kept seeing all the Instagram pics of girls on the train, actually reading The Girl on the Train. How can I ignore that kind of temptation? I can't. So I bought a copy with my Amazon credits figuring I'd read it, but for free. I haven't read it yet but I don't really know too much about it so maybe it will work better for me than Gone Girl, which I did not enjoy.

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    1. Good luck. We'll see what you think. :-)

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  5. This is one I will probably pass on. For me, the books everyone is buzzing about are usually the ones I dislike the most. I've seen the title and cover featured many places. This is the first time I've heard what the book is about. Interesting, but I still think I'll wait on it

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    1. You can always pick it up later if you decide you're interested, Margot. We'll never get to the point of not having something to read, will we? LOL

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  6. I've only seen the cover. Your blog entry is the first I've read about it. You wrote so well. Love the words about the 'dance.' As soon as I read 'self-destructive' I thought, not for me. But again, your review is stellar. Maybe you should write a book!

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    1. It would have to be a mystery and then I'd be afraid that I'd end up copying someone else's plot. LOL

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  7. I just read and reviewed this one. I really enjoyed it, despite not liking most of the characters.

    I read a lot of mystery/crime/suspense/thrillers (my go-to genre) and therefore there are many stories I get into in which I didn't like the main characters but enjoyed the writing, the plot and the author's talent. This is like one of them. I found it different: intense, confusing, addictive. I wanted to know the outcome.

    I don't turn to the backs of books, ever :) so that was not an option for me. I didn't read Gone Girl and dislike when publishers go for that kind of hype. I don't imagine it is the same type of story, just another one with an unreliable narrator.

    Actually I could forgive Rachel for being borderline obnoxious and making rather stupid decisions...I had commented further on this, but deleted my comment so I didn't post a spoiler for anyone.

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    1. My go-to genre as well. I think usually I need at least one character I can relate to or like. Some books these days seem to be filled with people that I wouldn't want to know. Thanks for not "telling" too much! And my husband and I disagree about my tendency to peek at the end of the book. He think that is appalling. LOL

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  8. My husband is interested in this one. If he gets it I will give it a try. This is a great review.

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  9. I don't know what this one is about, but I'm looking forward to it! :)

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    1. Well, I was trying not to tell you too much about the storyline. I'll definitely be interested in your thoughts if you decide to read it.

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  10. Like you, I (greatly) disliked Gone Girl. I don't plan on reading this one, either, reluctant to board a train everyone else is riding, but I am intrigued by the unreliable narrator; that I am a liar line is great.

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    1. I don't want to turn people off of it, but well, we each have to decide our tolerance level don't we? Thanks about the liar line. It was the point in the book where I thought - ah, I think I know where this is going. And I didn't share who the line was about, did I? LOL

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  11. I do really want to read this one. I went back and forth on Gone Girl and in the end I decided I did like it (despite the ending!). I think my mystery group might nominate this one to read later in the year so I'm going to wait and readalong with them.

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    1. I expect this one will be a popular selection for a lot of book clubs this year.

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  12. I've just started seeing this everywhere and added it to my wish list. I had the same problem with Gone Girl. It was compeling but the end? I was so mad!

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  13. It's been awhile since I last set a book down, considered not finishing it, and then picked it back up again and finish it. More often it's: consider not finishing it and then pick it up to read a little more, put it down again and not bother anymore.

    I have this one on audio and plan to listen to it once I finish my current audiobook. There's no telling how long it will take me to get through it.

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    1. That's not usually my way either. I'm more of a 50-pages-doesn't grip me-out the door kind. I'm curious as to how it would be on audio. I've found I do better with non-fiction on audio.

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  14. I've just started listening to this one on audio, not far in but the narrator is good. I haven't read Gone Girl but saw the movie and the ending annoyed me ... movie was great, she was one scary biatch, not sure whether it followed the book closely. Great review btw :)

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    1. I'll watch for your opinion on the audio. I probably should watch the movie of GONE GIRL and see if I feel the same.

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  15. I finished this a little over a week ago and I thought it was brilliant. Not great literature, but a breathtaking thriller that I pulled me in from the opening lines and didn't let me go until I finished that last paragraph. Yes, all of the characters are unlikeable and I especially had a tough time with Rachel's constant drinking problems. The author does such a great job making the reader care just enough to want to continue and find out how it all ends. Not a perfect 5/5, though, as the ending felt a little anticlimatic. Although, I usually feel that way about most mysteries/thrillers. It's the getting there that's all the fun.

    I may have to copy and paste this into my upcoming review. ;)

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    1. I agree that this author keeps us wanting to move forward in the story. I'll be interested in what she writes next.

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  16. I agree,mths less youk now going in , the better,

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

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  17. I enjoyed Hawkins' writing style, but yeah, Rachel drove me nuts.

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    1. Rachel was definitely an acquired taste, but at least she improved.

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  18. Great review! I suppose I enjoyed reading GONE GIRL more because i remember when I first read it there isn't much hype until later. Plus, I don't think there are many books on unreliable narrators at that time. Gillian Flynn seems to have made a new writing trend. ;)

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    1. I agree. The unreliable narrator is the soup du jour. LOL

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  19. You know, I had a hard time with parts of this book too. I kept wishing I could give Rachel a good shake and tell her to get her shit together. I agree, however, that the writing saved the story. I had a few issues with the ending - I felt like the ending didn't quite fit the story and a few bits didn't really work. But this is a debut, and I hope that with some practice, she'll get even better. In the end I was really glad I read it, despite Rachel and a few plot issues, and I've definitely been recommending it.

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    1. I'll definitely be looking forward to seeing where Paula Hawkins goes from here.

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!