‘The Girl on the Train is Paula Hawkins first novel and portrays one of the most horrible sets of characters I have ever come across. Despite the awful characters, the book completely pulled me in and I found it impossible to put down.
Rachel is a drunk. She always loved to drink, but after splitting with her husband Tom two years ago her drinking got worse. It caused her to lose her job several months ago but rather than tell her flatmate (and face up to her life) Rachel continues to catch the same train into London every morning and home every evening.
The morning train stops at the same red signal every day and rather than look into the back of the house where she used to live, where Tom now lives with his new wife Anna and their baby daughter, Rachel watches a nearby house in which a young couple live. Rachel has named them Jason and Jess and has invented complete and perfect lives for them.
But one morning Rachel observes Jess with another man and the beautiful picture she had is spoilt. Their real names are Scott and Megan Hipwell and shortly after the ‘other man’ incident Megan goes missing.
Rachel believes that reporting Megan’s infidelity will lead the police to her abductor. The police quickly dismiss Rachel as an unreliable witness, so she goes directly to Scott and finds herself drawn into the lives of the people involved in Megan’s disappearance.
The story is narrated by Rachel, Megan and Anna. There is almost nothing nice I can say about Rachel. Any potential good in her is quickly drowned by her next drink.
Megan is nothing like the perfect Jess that Rachel imagined. She has a history of running away from difficult situations. She may have run this time or maybe she pushed someone too far.
Anna is the whiney other woman who can’t imagine what Tom ever saw in Rachel.
And the men in the story are just as bad as the women.
Everyone and everything in the book was very dark. In the end we found out what happened to Megan but none of the characters were left with a particularly rosy future.
The writing was excellent (even if a bit too dark) and I’m looking forward to the next novel from Paula Hawkins.
Book Published 2015