Ask anyone that knows me and they’ll tell you that I love taking the train. I think I like it for all the same reasons as Rachel, the protagonist in Paula Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train. Getting to have a quick glance into people’s homes/lives while you whisk by on the train allows for you to have a very active imagination. I’ve always been like this, I love getting that sneak peek into someone’s home as the light dims and the lights in peoples homes allow you to see families that have just sat down to dinner. My thoughts always lead me to my own conclusions and they do the same for Rachel who every day passes a loving couple who sit out on their roof terrace sipping their morning cups of coffee. She’s imagined that their names are Jason and Jess and imagines that he’s in the medical field and Jess, well she’s a caregiver of some sort. She always makes a point to look out for them while she’s on her commute home too, while she sips on a gin and tonic. Likely her fourth of the day.
You see, Rachel’s not your ordinary commuter, she’s lost touch with reality and she’s very quickly on her way to hitting rock bottom. She sees the stares from other commuters, she hears their snickers as they watch her crack open yet another can of booze. She wasn’t always like this, she was once a married woman with hopes and aspirations to be a Mother. But after her attempts at making a child with her ex-husband Tom fail, she turns to liquor. And Tom, well Tom turns to Anna. As things start to unravel more and more, she takes solace in knowing that at least other couples are living happily ever after. That is until one day on her commute she spots Jess kissing a man who isn’t Jason! Distraught, frustration, anger lead her to really hit the bottle hard that night. When she wakes up from her bender with a cut face, ripped clothes and no memory of the night before, she flicks on the news to see Jess’, whom she learns is actually named Megan, face all over the news with the words ‘missing’ running across the screen.
What happened on that fateful Saturday night? Where is Megan and did Rachel have anything to do with her disappearance? She remembers getting off at the train stop by their house and that’s where everything goes blank. As the police start their investigation, Rachel starts her own investigation to put all the pieces together. Her curiosity causes her to face the many skeletons in her closet and in other peoples closets too.
Each page was like peeling away another layer of an onion. I couldn’t stop until I read the last page. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a thriller as original as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, but this took the cake. It was a smart story that you will not be able to predict how it ends. Picture yourself boarding a windy roller coaster where you’re unable to see where you get off, that’s what this book is, a non-stop trip aboard an unpredictable adventure. You’ll gasp, you’ll create a soft spot for Rachel and her demons and you won’t be able to put this book down. AND REMEMBER, the next time you try to predict what’s really going on in the houses you pass by every day on your way to work, just know that you have no idea about what goes on behind closed doors.