Girl on the train by Paula Hawkins is one of those books you would love to have on your bookshelf. The biggest reason why is that you cannot call yourself a book-nerd if you have not read this one. The book has earned for itself a cosy spot on many Bestseller lists- GoodReads, Times, etc., and is everything a thriller addict could possibly ask for.
Now, most authors would want their protagonists to be interesting people with interesting lives. Paula Hawkins, however, went for Rachel, an alcoholic with the most mechanical life you could possibly imagine. What is most ironic here is that this book is a top notch thriller with the first few chapters being quite dull and grey; it successfully creates an illusion of normalcy, of nothing seeming to be out of place. Just when you are being lulled into monotony, you come face to face with the turning point of the plot and suddenly everything becomes ten times more interesting. The reader’s curiosity deepens with every page he turns; he quickly reaches the point where the book becomes “unputdownable”.
Explaining the plot would most definitely ruin the read, and hence, I’ve decided to explain the character of Rachel, our Girl on the Train. As mentioned earlier she is not built of the usual protagonist material. A person with some serious flaws, Rachel is a divorcee who has sought refuge in alcohol. She drinks excessively and this costs her, her job. Afraid that her apartment owner would not want to have a jobless tenant, Rachel takes a train to London every day pretending that she goes to work. On one of those routine journeys, she sees something from the carriage window that shatters the monotony of her life. It’s only for a brief moment, not even a paragraph but a mere sentence that forms the turning point in the plot.
What is most interesting about the book is the writing style. The reader is compelled to see the picture through the eyes of three different women- Rachel, Anna and Megan, and is compelled to adapt himself to the constantly changing time frame of the plot. Towards the end of the book, the reader is left with random pieces of a puzzle with ABSOLUTELY no idea where each piece fits in the bigger picture. Only when the reader completely finishes the book, can he enjoy the satisfaction of having solved the puzzle. And this is what sets a true thriller apart from the rest.
Reading this book is like sitting on a roller coaster side; you can resume breathing normally only when you finish reading it. By that time, Rachel would have easily gotten herself a place on your “Unforgettable Fictional Characters” list; enough to show that she is more than just a girl on the train.
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