By some miracle of my own cultural ignorance I had no idea what the plot of The Girl on the Train was. I knew it was very popular and also a film now. I hadn’t read anything about it because I knew it was a thriller, so didn’t want to expose myself to any plot twists which would ruin any eventual reading of it.
I enjoyed most of it. There’s a slow build up that fills you with questions about different characters. You get past a slowish middle and then when the action really begins it took me a while to put together the Who in the Whodunit (mainly because I had wild theories about what I hoped had happened). It becomes exciting and fulfils all the page turner requirements I really wanted it to. Then by the end I felt flat. Disappointed. I’ll explain why later on after I’ve given some big old SPOILER alert warnings.
I have to admit I tried to read this book last year. I thought I’d tried to read it. I was slogging through a completely tedious book, wondering what the fuss was about. It’s extremely rare for me to abandon a book once I’ve started (I can’t actually think of any I’ve outright abandoned – many I’ve just shelved for finishing ‘later’). How could this be a big, gripping bestseller? Turns out I was reading a book with a title that is one minor word away from Girl On The Train. And I hadn’t paid enough attention to the author name…
I’ve definitely read the right book this time. There’s a girl, on a train, and thrilling events take place. The girl, on the train, is Rachel. She’s a mess. An alcoholic. Her husband left her 2 years ago for the women he had an affair with. She can’t let go and move on. She sees their house (her old house) every day on her train commute into London. She also sees the house of their nearby neighbours. She doesn’t know them, but has made up a perfect fantasy life in her head for the strangers a little way down the road.
THERE’S GOING TO BE SPOILERS FROM NOW 🙂 So, if you have somehow existed in a cultural void, like me, and think you might want to read this one day, look away. Thanks for reading my blog, now go and read the book, then come back and we can discuss it.
It was all going so well. I wanted to finish it so badly once I’d got to the finale part of the book. I even hid myself away from my family to try and finish it, undisturbed. It was all going so well. I love the premise. We all watch people. Can probably all pick people out from our daily journeys to work. People we see all the time, don’t know and make up little stories for. Rachel is an utter mess. She’s pathetic and annoying, but it works for the story.
The reveal of what happened on the night of the murder is where it all went wrong for me. It was just such a tedious, boring, depressing reveal. Essentially, the women are all pathetic, weak, damaged, needy and desperate. The men are all violent, controlling and jealous. Rachel’s reveal is gaslighting 101. The love of her life is actually a manipulative twat who made her think she was violent during their relationship, when it was the other way round. The murdered girl has a right final night. Violently assaulted by her boyfriend, she escapes to meet her violent fling, who kills her. Even physically it’s all so cliched. The women are pretty and slim, the men are handsome and physically imposing. Urgh. I was so hoping one of my more imaginative theories was going to be true. One that gave some interest to these characters. But no, *yawn*, the inconvenienced man murdered his bit on the side because she was pregnant and going to threaten his *real* relationship.
Short summery of the book: women are stupid; men are violent. I really need to read a book where people are nice to each other next. Or where there are horrible people but they aren’t so cliched. I really enjoyed Gone Girl because the reveal was unexpected, a bit unusual and it made the characters interesting! I’m convinced this book is so popular because we can all recognise aspects of the abuse in this story from our own lives, or from that of people we know. Even just glimpses. How depressing.
Also, mild annoyances, but the completely unprofessional police woman was awful. I hope police don’t go winding people up and stirring like she did! Also, the structure meant I kept having to flick back to check dates. pfft.
Anyway, I have to go. 2015 is calling and wants it’s book of the moment back…