Book Review – The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

So, for my first review as a member of the MacHalo group, and the associated reading challenge, I’m doing a book that was made into a movie or TV show. The Girl on the Train has a film coming out this year starring Emily Blunt, so I think it counts.

This time the book gets an Honest Movie Trailers style review because it is an over-hyped boring story. I love antagonizing the public (evil grin).

Spoilers ahead.

This distant fall, there comes a questionable movie to a very questionable book that thrilled readers worldwide and broke the internet community…for no apparent reason. Revisit the novel that started the phenomenon but isn’t Gone Girl – The Girl on the Train.

Meet Rachel, a down on her luck heroine, whose defining feature is that she catches a train back and forth everyday. A relatable everyday woman who is a raging alcoholic, creepy stalker and generally just useless, Rachel’s life is not particularly interesting until one evening, when a woman she barely knows goes missing in front of her and turns up dead later.
It’s a gripping murder mystery…but only because Rachel was dead drunk and can’t remember a thing.

Watch as Rachel doesn’t race against time to find the killer, not to serve justice, but because she’s kinda bored and this is the only interesting thing for an unemployed alcoholic to do. Go through an adrenaline fuelled 200-something pages of her:
-trying not drink,
-drinking on the train,
-drinking at home,
-drinking at the pub,
-making a vague effort to remember what happened that night.
Try to not pull your hair out as she remains unlikable from beginning to end and is only redeemed by the fact that there are worse characters than her in the book.

But the excitement doesn’t stop there as we get the equally unreliable (if not more so) narratives of Megan (the dead woman) and Anna (Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife). Every woman is proved to be a desperate heap of hormones and every man a two-timing bastard in this humanity affirming book. Experience, alternately, what it is like to be:
(a) a victim of society’s expectations of motherhood (Rachel)
(b) a victim of childhood trauma and drug abuse (Megan)
(c) a victim of your own overblown ego and twisted priorities (Anna)
Only, none of this will make sense, because Rachel could have adopted, Megan became a drug addict because her brother died(?) and Anna is just plain skanky.

Plod along with this so-called mystery that no fairly experienced reader would fail to solve within the first hundred pages. Come on people, like I haven’t seen ambiguous narration before. Also, did you really think that with a huge cast of six characters, I wouldn’t know who did it? Reasons why:
– Rachel was drunk and doesn’t remember anything (plus main character)
– Megan is the one that died
– Kamal is too obvious
– Scott is too obvious

Who exactly does this leave then? Not the baby-toting Gossip Girl, that’s for sure.


Extra-marital affairs

Extra extra-marital affairs



More lying than a presidential campaign

Arbitrary police procedures

The pronoun game that’s fooling no one

A general lack of common sense

Therapy that helps no one

Zero character development


Hollywoodization as overweight and unattractive Rachel is played by Emily Blunt

Already poor script writing as evidenced by this line from internal monologue being turned into actual dialogue – “My teacher called me a mistress of self-reinvention”

An attempt at avant-garde, post-modern writing that comes off as boring

Barely indistinguishable multiple narrators

First world problems as Anna

Sorry genetics as Megan

A motivational speaker’s worst nightmare as Rachel

A Gossip Girl hero as Tom (the sleazy ex)

A grizzly bear as Scott (Megan’s husband)

A feeble attempt at diversity as Kamal (the seductive therapist)

A Whirl on the Hype Train. Coming soon to theaters uncomfortably close to you.


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