Book Review: The Girl on the Train


I am currently working my way through a few psychological thrillers and this one did not disappoint. Very much following the theme of amnesia found in Before I Go to Sleep and Elizabeth is Missing, this is the story of Rachel who as an unreliable narrator leaves the reader questioning whether or not to believe her account of events. The chapters cycle through different viewpoints from Rachel, Anna and Megan. The dates go back and forth, eventually colliding at a crescendo point in the narrative. It’s a tense and gripping thriller. Hawkins has clearly had fun with the characters and she ratchets up the tension with each twist in the story. It’s not often that I am blindsided by an ending but i really did not see it coming and was as surprised as most when I discovered the details surrounding the disappearance of Megan, who we initially think is Jess.

There are chilling flashbacks to a girl in a tunnel, blood on Rachel’s head, a red-headed man at the station who she may or may not know. Her memories change, they shift, and sometimes turn out to be complete untruths. The agony of her not quite remembering due to one glass or bottle too many should frustrate the reader, but Hawkins manages to draw you into Rachel’s fear, self-doubt, and you easily pity her, empathise and root for her, despite the fact that she has been stalking complete strangers and her ex-husband, situations that would not usually draw a reader’s sympathy. Cleverly written and well worth reading. I wonder whether the film will stay true to the story. It will be released on 7 October staring Emily Blunt, who I think will do a sterling job as Rachel.

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