The book was praised by one critic, that Paula Hawkins uses an “unpretentious and clear language” and that she further gives a “precise observation” and there is also mentioned that The Girl on the Train is an “elaborated thriller” – that says at least Michal Streck from the magazine Stern. I agree with the clear language, yes, and in some ways, I agree that the author could bring a bit of finesse to the story, but I don´t agree with the rest. For many reasons, I couldn´t jump into the hype feeling everyone - except me, among a few others - was having.

The Girl On The Train
by Paula Hawkins
Publisher Riverhead Books on January 13, 2015
Genre Thriller
Pages 336
Format Hardcover

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She´s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It´s only a minute until the train moves on, but it´s enough. Now everything´s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Rachel is a very unhappy woman. Since her husband left her for a not only a bit younger woman but also one who got pregnant, her life is one single hell. She is depressed, drinks way too much, and the ride on the train every morning is the only thing that brings her in contact with other people – and lets her torture herself even more. Because every day the train stops at one station from where she can see straight to the house where she and her ex used to live. Now only he lives there with his new family and Rachel is kind of forgotten. But when she one day sees something awkward and goes to the police, all of a sudden she finds herself in the middle of a nightmare. One, she can´t ignore nor flee from.

Maybe it´s me, maybe I expected after all the hype I witnessed about this thriller, really too much from it. But at some point, I was close to doing something, that I´d never done (and still haven’t!): that I call it DNF. Yes, I wrote at Goodreads, shortly after I´ve started, that it was “Kind of boring. That I´d hoped that´d change soon. And that otherwise, this book would risk becoming my first DNF …”

Well, it didn´t come to a DNF, but it was close – REAL CLOSE! I know a lot of fantastic thrillers, a lot of titles who could really give me the creeps, put a chill down my spine and made me want to go outside and run after I was finished with them, ´cause I had so much nervous energy running through my body that I had to go outside to get rid of it, to simply calm down. But this thriller is average (at least for me), on some pages kind of well-written average, but still average. Maybe other readers don´t agree with me, but that´s ok. This is my opinion about this book; this is how I feel about it.

It was kind of interesting to watch how the figures came to the same conclusion I had very soon already, that I have to admit. And to see how they were dealing with it was at least in some scenes, nice to read. But I also missed a lot of things in this book. Where was the unpredictable? The “I-didn´t-see-that-coming” moment? Or how about some really shocking moments, where you finally start to see what type of thriller that is? Some huge WOW moment where a great thriller usually gets you right into it? Nothing in sight, no, not even close.

I was annoyed by the way some characters were acting, I couldn´t and still can´t stand the way how Cathy treated Rachel, or how Rachel was behaving. Her self-pity, how she drowns in it, how she excuses everything she does or doesn´t – Woman get yourself together, suck it up and get over it! You´re not the first woman who experiences something like that and no one said it´ll be easy. So show some self-respect and at least some dignity!

And that Anna - what in the world is she thinking or doing?

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that a mother and woman, who took the husband from another woman, is acting weird if the ex shows up again and again. But what she does, thinks and finally tells the police, sorry but that is just mean, cold and completely over the edge. She oversteps a line here.

I admit that the author has a good way of creating figures. Until some point they were convincing and it was kind of good to watch them. I felt annoyed, I felt angry, I felt pity and until a certain point, I thought why the heck is Tom still doing what he´s doing with Rachel, to her? Why all those talks, all those tries to get some sense into her if not for the reason to keep her away from his new life? I read a few more pages and after some further chapter,s I was quite sure who the murderer, the bad guy had to be – and guess what? Yep, I was sooo right! But I guess that wasn´t how it was meant to be by the author. I guess she wanted her readers to puzzle about it – why else would she have given all those hints about the husband of the murdered figure? Why show his violent behavior through the eyes of the murdered person and the soft behavior towards the police and Rachel, if not for fooling the reader a bit?

My expectations were definitely way too high. As sad as it is, but it´s the truth. Yes, I enjoyed some scenes, and I had some kind of pleasure reading it all the way to the end – but that´s not enough to give this title more than the stars I gave. I wasn´t thrilled or hooked, I missed a stunning plot or some intriguing figures that were able to get in touch with them. I read it all to the end for three reasons:

-I didn´t want to give the author the gratification that this would be the first title I did not finish -I was hoping that there would come a wow effect, a moment where I would think now we´re getting to the point here – which never happened.
-I wanted to give the author a chance to finally catch me – which also didn´t happen.

So I have finished it but can´t recommend it with a pure conscience. 

Happy reading

Paula Hawkins

Paula Hawkins grew up in Zimbabwe. 1989 she moved to London, where she still lives. Over 15 years she worked as a journalist, before she started writing novels. Her first novel Girl on the Train captured instantly the top of the bestseller lists in England and the US and even before the publishing date DreamWorks secured the movie rights. 


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