The Girl On the Train – Paula Hawkins

If I had to sum up this novel in just three words, I’d save my breath and do it in one – “average”. Now average is not to say it was unenjoyable, there were parts that I thought were interesting, but it ended up being so terribly predictable that I would by lying if I said I thought it was anything special. I know, I know… it’s a bestseller it must have something going for it surely?

Well the premise of the novel is intriguing, I’ll give you that much. The story is centred on Rachel, a divorced alcoholic who takes the same train everyday past her old house and old life. From the window of the train Rachel likes to watch a seemingly perfect couple, Scott and Megan, imagining the details of their life together and their perfect relationship. However one day Rachel sees something that shocks her, and becomes embroiled in a missing persons case that will take over her life.

As thrillers go The Girl on the Train is by no means bad, there is just enough suspense to keep the reader reading. But having just enough suspense is very different to keeping the reader on tenterhooks, which in my opinion was what was missing from the narrative. Hawkins’ pace was at times quite slow, some of the characters more developed than others (Anna in particular came across wholly two-dimensional), and the story-line lacked some momentum towards the end. Now whilst I seem to have been fairly critical thus far, I will say that Hawkins’ narrative was very easy to read and the ending was tied neatly together without any loose ends.

If you’re looking for a quick holiday read, this is it. If you’re looking for the next Girl with the Dragon Tatoo I’m afraid you’ll have to look a little further afield, or perhaps lower your expectations.


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