Thursday, July 30, 2015

Book Club: The Girl on the Train

If you've read any literary review in the last two years you might think that Gillan Flynn has a legally binding contract with every reporter to henceforth compare every novel writen to her hit, Gone Girl. If your book isn't in a genre that lends itself to this comparison, it might as well have not been published. Inevitably every title that follows the phrase "if you loved Gone Girl, you'll love..." falls short. Which is why I've waited this long to read Paula Hawkins The Girl on the Train. Just like with handbags, and men, I'm not a fan of knockoffs. I prefer to wait for the original. But I needed a book to read on vacation so I succumbed to the peer pressure. I'm so glad I did.

The book is from three different women's perspectives, all of their lives intersecting in extremely interesting and complicated ways. Rachel is a very sad, lonely, alcoholic divorcee who's husband left her for another woman, Anna (whose perspective we also get to experience). The highlight of Rachel's pathetic existence are the hour long train rides she takes in the morning and evening to and from London. Along her path she encounters a couple outside her window, and she begins to imagine the story of their life together. Until, a sudden tragic turn of events interests all of their lives.

I'm hesitant to compare any book to Gone Girl because I feel it would do both works a disservice, but I have to admit these two definitely have striking similarities. Just like in Gone Girl, the book is writen in diary form, allowing the reader to really encompass the psyche of each of the different narrators. Also like Gone Girl, the entire cast is extrmely flawed and you find it difficult to root for any of them. The inevitable twist is less shocking than that of Flynn's novel, but is satisfying and juicy, in its own right. You will find yourself unable to put this book down.

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