I’d heard (mostly) good things about Paula Hawkins’ thriller and was excited for a mystery to round out my year. (Only one book left to my half cannonball, and hopefully enough time to eek out a victory!). I chose to tackle this one as an audiobook, and it worked very well in this format, though I can’t give a completely enthusiastic report; Hawkins ran out of steam and the pay-off at the end fell flat.
Each chapter jumps around to the perspective of the three main narrators: Rachel, Megan, and Anna and it is a battle royale of the unreliable narrators. It is clear that none of them are exactly what they seem, and they are rounded out by a full cast of other unreliables. Rachel is the eponymous “Girl on the Train” and is leading an unfulfilling life: a broken alcoholic who spends her days riding the train as she keeps up the facade of employment to her roommate. On the train into the city she rides past her old house, filled with broken dreams, and she thinks back to the time she spent there and her ex living his new life with his new wife.
From her view on the train she can see her old street, and see into the home of a neighbor, a few houses from her old residence. A husband and wife, seemingly idyllic, living the life she once had in her grasp. Until one day, Rachel spies the wife with a man who is not her husband. And then the wife disappears, and Rachel inserts herself into the mystery of her disappearance.
I found the mystery to be rather complex and compelling; it took a while for me to feel like I knew which way the story was going. All that said, the ending left a lot to be desired. I don’t want to say much and give anything away, I’ll just say I was disappointed in how she treated some of the female characters, and that their behavior was frustrating in the end.
Overall I recommend this book, especially in audio form over a few gray and cold days, but just temper your expectations for a somewhat disappointing end.