The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: A Book Review

thegirlontetrainThe winner of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for the Best Mystery and Thriller.  It narrowly defeated Stephen King’s Finders Keepers and  J.K. Rowling’s  Career of Evil under her pen name Robert Galbraith. I have not read the latter ones yet, but I am aware that Stephen King is well- known for writing such genre. How about Rowling’s skills in captivating her audience with her magic spell?  So I cannot comparatively but subjectively criticize it if this is deserving of the award. Don’t take umbrage at me, Ms. Hawkins.

I may not be a movie snob, but I believe that this is the agglomeration of the author’s collected ideas she may have drawn from the mystery and thriller movies she has watched, needless to say from the books she has read. I bet my boots Stephen King is one of her influences. So there are some parts in the book which are not new to me any longer: I guess who among the characters the real killer is. It is the kind one who turns out to be the bad one;  the part when another character drowns her baby to death. This sounds Greek to me. Where did I read and watch it? ; Rachel’s episodic-memory  scenes ; and the victim’s husband will be the protagonist’s friend and eventually enemy.

Nevertheless, the author wrote her collected ideas very well. The sentences are light, loose, and expressive which I believe are essential in writing a mystery and thriller. I can imagine the vivid scenes. I can connect to the characters. I can sense the suspenseful parts. However, I notice that there are some parts which enervate and undermine the excitement in reaching the climax such as too many emphases on the protagonist’s abject misery. She does something like this and like that off and on. In addition, the idea of alternate personal accounts among the three characters, notably between Anna and Megan, taxes my interest in and focus on Rachel, the protagonist. I do not care much about both of them; I just want to focus on Rachel. How about playing down to some other characters such as the two detectives? In other words, the author intends to leave us readers hang in the air which I find monotonously dreary and annoying . Ooops! You might find me now harsh, but I mean business. Mea Culpa.

Despite that the book appears lacking  originality, there is one thing that I found somewhat interesting. It is  the main character’s role. She is a divorcee and   dipsomania as well. That is why she loses her job.  In fear of shame, she pretends to go to work   by staying on the train where she forms her   fantasies and in a library where she reads and reads and reads- the settings I have not read yet.

Since Goodreads, the largest book club site in the world, catapulted it to fame, for sure,  Ms. Hawkins will be expected to write something better than this. Congratulations to Ms. Hawkins!  I am sure she takes her hat off to the readers who voted for her. Can I still belong to them? ^_^

Rating: 2/ 5 stars ( It’s OK.)



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