Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Book Review - The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

What a terrific read!  A stunning first novel from Paula Hawkins.  Written as though sort of diary entries from a series of women mostly our heroine Rachel it describes the events before, during and after the disappearance of a young wife one Saturday night.  Rachel is the central character who used to live in the same street as the woman who disappeared and has come to "know" her through seeing her from the train every morning as she passes by on her way to London.  When the woman disappears Rachel becomes embroiled in trying to identify the person who has abducted her.  A really good page turning thriller that introduces the characters and events via some time hopping and perspective changes and continues in the early part to make you continually want to find out what fills in the full picture.

I'd totally recommend this book.  It is very close to my top accolade on the FTUBRS* (i.e. with a grin) and only just misses out as just towards the end I'd pretty much figured out the reveal of the killer.  If that had been a surprise it would certainly have got it.   It also gets a huge recommendation from me as poor Rachel is divorced, jobless and unable to tell her flatmate she has lost her job so commutes to London still each day to look normal.  Rachel is also an alcoholic (not something I knew before selecting to read the book I saw it had some good recommendations and was compared to Gone Girl so decided to try it).  This is in my humble opinion the best characterisation of an alcoholic I've ever read other than when billed as a self-penned memoir.  It so brilliantly describes the battle, the fear the blackouts etc.  Superbly researched and written.  So, only because of the ending, a clear and huge Two Thumbs up on the FTUBRS* - actually with half a grin... (my scale my rules... I can break them).  If you have an Easter break planned and want some reading material - pick this up as you leave you'll not be disappointed.

I also recently read John le Carre's Our Kind of Traitor.  OK not one of his best, but an interesting yarn with some good characterisation but the ending was a little flat.  It seemed to end all to suddenly and with something that was a bit predictable a bit before hand.  It centres on an academic and his girlfriend who go on a tennis break at a resort in the Caribbean and there meet a larger than life Russian character with his large extended family.  Soon he ropes them into a spy woven intrigue tale which you see largely through their eyes and their feelings and thoughts.  Worth a read.   A two thumbs horizonal on the FTUBRS*

* Furtheron Thumbs Up Book Review Scale - 
lowest is both thumbs down with a frown
two thumbs down, 
one thumb horizontal,
two thumbs horizontal, 
one thumb up, 
two thumbs up 
two thumbs up with a grin - very rarely awarded

1 comment:

  1. My husband and I are jointly listening to Girl on the Train as an audiobook and are loving it. We both shake our heads at poor Rachel a lot. I agree she's well-written as an alcoholic, and when I read the description of the book, I thought it was an interesting story device for the unrealizable narrator. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book too (and didn't spoil the ending in your review as we are a couple hours from finishing. Hopefully we'll wrap it up this weekend with our next long car drive together.)