Friday, February 13, 2015
The Girl on the Train
I was excited to see The Girl on the Train on the best seller table at the library. I grabbed it as soon as I saw it. This book has been receiving a lot of buzz, touted as one of the best books of 2015. It has been compared to Gone Girl (which I loved), so I was excited to read it.
Rachel rides trains. She rides trains to fake a commute to London so she doesn't have to tell her roommate that she lost her job. Rachel also drinks. A lot.
As Rachel rides the train, she looks out the window. She has a favorite station where she can look into the homes of the people who live nearby. In one of the homes she sees a couple. In her mind, she creates an entire reality for this couple, giving them names, determining that they are a happy couple, imagining what they do for work, and how much they enjoy sitting on their terrace. Rachel ascribes this couple with a happiness that she no longer feels, as her drinking ruined her relationship with her ex-husband. Her ex-husband and his new wife, Anna, live near this station as well. Hmmm. Could that be why she likes this particular station so much?
As she's riding the train one day, she sees something that shatters her view of the loving couple, whom she's named Jason and Jess. This propels her to get involved in their lives. Is this a good idea?
Rachel cares for this couple in an intimate, yet distant and abstract way. She wants to help, but even so, her motives are weak. As she tries to help, her story gets tangled with theirs, and readers are left wondering what is true. Heck, Rachel wonders what is true, even about her own actions. Can you say "unreliable narrator"?
And she's not the only one. Rachel tells the story, as does Megan (Jess's real name), who has issues of her own. We also hear the story from Anna's point of view, Rachel's ex-husband's wife. Three different points of view, all of which are skewed. What is really going on?
The story unfolds well, truths (and untruths) revealed carefully and well. This is a taut psychological thriller that kept me guessing until (almost!) the very end. A good read!
Thanks for stopping by! You can also check out our Facebook page, NOT The New York Times Book Review. Happy reading!