Good Day, Dear Bloggites! 🙂 Here is my latest book review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. As you know, I joined this awesome book club three months ago. I was looking for my fellow book lovers of America whom I can share my personal thoughts and insights into the different books I have read as well as hear their feedback on their thoughts and insights into the book we just read.
I am a lone liker of this book as compared to the ladies who attended the last book club meeting earlier in the month. None of them liked the book. They found nothing endearing or likable about any of the characters in this book. They did not like how the novel was structured with dates that bounced around throughout the storyline. These ladies were shocked that this book stayed so long on the top, best books to read list.
I differ in the opinion about the book staying so long on the list, but do agree with their assessment on the characters being unlikable with no endearing qualities. The Girl on the Train is about just that, a lady with an obsessive nature and a severe drinking problem who watches the people outside the train window she rides on every day.
The book gave some good insight into living life as or with an alcoholic and how it affects every aspect of the lives involved with said alcoholic. I think the character, Rachel, captures the sympathy of many readers because of the challenges and issues she faces. I have been married to an alcoholic and could totally relate to the issues being faced on a daily basis from all involved.
To add to the alcoholism, the main character seems to have lost touch with reality in an obsessive way. Rachel fixates on one couple, Megan & Scott, she sees out the train window and begins to create a certain lifestyle with this couple, a lifestyle she wished she had. Another obsession she suffers from is the one with her ex-husband and his new wife, Anna, and their child. Anna was the cause of the ending of Rachel’s marriage to Tom because he was cheating on Rachel with her.
The story unfolds as the lady from Rachel’s fantasy, Megan, turns up missing. Rachel, who suffers from blackouts due to her alcoholism, begins to wonder if she was involved with the disappearance. As Rachel delves more and more into the investigation, she begins to have memory flashbacks of things she witnessed or did during her blackout the night Megan went missing.
I am not going to delve much deeper into the storyline for fear of taking away the reader’s enjoyment, but I will share my thoughts on the characters and how the book was written.
I am not a fan of first person writing, and this book was written in the first person. I do see a benefit in certain situations where the first person writing aspect is a good route to go, but overall, I think it takes away from the storyline, especially a storyline like this where the characters are not very likable. No one want to envision themselves as a bad person or even a person with the issues Rachel suffers from.
This is the first novel written by Paula Hawkins and so I believe I am more forgiving with how the book lacks some elements than my cohorts in the book club are toward the author. I am an aspiring writer and would hope that when my book is published, I will be forgiven if some elements are lacking or missing.
The characters in the book are not very likable, even the most helpful of all the characters, Cathy, Rachel’s roommate, is not likeable because she chooses to condemn Rachel and her addictions in silence and does not confront Rachel about her issues. Cathy turns the proverbial blind eye to the whole situation because she believes Rachel is just “going through a rough patch” in her life.
The storyline can get a bit confusing if you pay attention to the dates given in each section of the book. The story is not written in a uniform, chronological format, so the dates are out of order as the book is being written and can distract from the storyline itself. The author should have kept the dates out or made more of an effort to specify the transitions from one date to another.
I did enjoy the plot twist in the book which kept the reader wondering who actually caused Megan to disappear. One moment you would think it was Rachel, the next you would think it was someone else. Plot twists are always fun for me. I love to figure out who the guilty party is and generally know before it is exposed at the end. Plot twists keep you guessing and so makes the reading experience that much more enjoyable.
All in all, I give The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins 3 out of 5 Bookmarks: I would recommend it to people who do not care about the technical writing of a novel, but would not recommend it to someone that does hold writers to a higher standard when they write a novel for the public to read.