The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – A Review

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is one of many thrillers that I have read this year as part of my commitment to read 25 books in 2019. This book has been on my “to-read” list for several months. In fact, after I watched the film, I was set on reading the book as I am a firm believer that the book is always better than the film. My one criticism of the movie adaptation is the discrepancy between the physcial characteristics of the protagonist in the book versus the actress, Emily Blunt, who was chosen to play her in the movie. While Blunt undeniably puts on a great show, I feel that the producers could have recruited an actress that would have been a better match for the character that Hawkins creates in our minds. Therefore, I would recommend reading the book before watching the movie.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Number 1 New York Times bestseller.
The Girl on the Train

The Wikipedia review of this book is simple – a psychological thriller that gives narratives from three different women about relationship troubles and binge drinking. I would argue that Wikipedia have made a slight omission there. Beyond relationships and binge drinking, The Girl on the Train is a thrilling murder mystery with betrayal and deceit as one of the key themes.

The Girl on the Train has a modern-day, suburbian London setting. The protagonist, who is “the girl on the train”, is a troubled character who is struggling to get over her ex-husband, is in denial about her state of unemployment and who has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Number 1 New York Times bestseller.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

There are plenty of other interesting characters in The Girl on the Train, all with their own voice and their own impact to make in the story. Paula Hawkins shows her skill as an author by creating these unique individuals that resonate long after the book has been read. In contrast to the first book I read by this author, Into the Water, keeping track of who the characters are is much more manageable in The Girl on the Train. My review of Into the Water explains how I felt that the author included too many characters in the storyline.

I thoroughly enjoyed the mysterious nature of the story and I must praise and respect Paula Hawkins for her ability to intertwine modern-day issues, such as alcoholism and unemployment, into the exciting storyline. A gripping read from start to finish, this book will have you turning pages long after you should be gone to sleep.

This book was the tenth book I read in 2019 – the year in which I have committed to reading 25 books. You can keep up-to-date with my “to-read” list and book reviews here. Of the two books I have read by this author, I recommend The Girl on the Train ahead of Into the Water. That said, I believe every book is worth a read.