Monday, June 1, 2015

A Heck of a Page-Turner with a Clichéd Ending

Source: Author Website
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead Books, 2015, 336pp.)  

Stressed, unemployed, failure: these three words describe the current state of Rachel Watson's sorry life. Besides drinking herself into oblivion and stalking her now happily remarried ex-husband, one of Rachel's few guilt-free pleasures is to ride the train into London and make up stories about the people she sees from her compartment window. Two of the people she regularly sees are a pair of young marrieds that she calls Jason and Jess. Jason and Jess are devoted. Romantic. Successful. And they would have remained that way, had Rachel's fantasy not been completely ruined by the sight of Jess, kissing a strange man in her back yard.

Hours later, Rachel wakes up hungover, with no memory of how she got home. Then she sees the news: a young suburban housewife has gone missing. And she looks an awful lot like Jess. Did Rachel do something terrible? Something that Sober Rachel wouldn't even dream of, but that Drunk Rachel would?

The beginning of this mystery/thriller is quite promising. It starts off with the haunting image of a pile of old clothes discarded by the train tracks. It continues at a gripping pace, exploring not only Rachel's POV, but also that of two other women: Megan (the missing housewife) and Anna (the woman who broke up Rachel's marriage). Unfortunately, while The Girl on the Train tries to pass off as the next Gone Girl, it only delivers half of what it promises. While Gone Girl's Big Reveal completely turns the missing persons genre on its head, this book sweeps to a close with an ending that is more simplistic and cliché than original. However, despite its faulty ending, Girl on the Train is still one heck of a page-turner, and will surely appeal to Gone Girl fans desperately looking for the next best thing.

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