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The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train

Book - 2015
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After witnessing something shocking, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), 2015.
ISBN: 9781594633669
Branch Call Number: FIC HAWKINS, PAULA
Characteristics: 323 pages ; 24 cm


From the critics

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Apr 28, 2021


WPL_Erin Mar 04, 2021

Super good mystery, incredible twists and turns!

Jan 28, 2021

This was a page-turner! Deeply flawed characters make this more authentic than most suspense novels. I highly recommend it.

Jan 24, 2021

This was a good story but the author's writing style made it very difficult to read. I also figured out the "who" of the story about a third of the way through it. Watching the movie would probably be easier.

Nov 28, 2020

Rachel has ridden the train every morning for two years to a nonexistent job in order to perpetrate the fantasy that she is still working. While on the train, she passes the house where she used to live with her husband Tom who is now her ex and living in the same house with his new wife and young daughter. Rachel also sees a young woman who sits outside drinking her coffee every day often with her husband near by and daydreams about the wonderful, happy life they must have. When she finds out that the young wife has gone missing, she inserts herself into the investigation, knowing that she was there the night of the disappearance, but she can't remember what happened because she was drunk once again.

The Girl on the Train is a twisty mystery with numerous suspects and an abundance of clues, a number of which are red herrings. The book reads very quickly because there is so much suspense that the pages turn quickly. However, to have so many turns in the story, it becomes very contrived until it is beyond belief. In addition, none of the characters are truly happy, leaving a feeling of depression and hopelessness. Overall, The Girl on the Train is a well-written mystery and should satisfy most mystery buffs, but there is very little in it that makes it enjoyable to read.

Sep 07, 2020

The "girl" in the title notwithstanding (I hate that convention when referring to grown women) this is an enjoyable read and a good thriller.

Sep 06, 2020

Rachel became fascinated by the sight of a beautiful copy that she would see from her seat on the train every morning. She fantasized about their idyllic life, so she was shocked to see the young wife kissing another man one morning and to learn the next day that this same wife had disappeared. She began investigating the disappearance and it was not long until she had injected herself into the incident and the lives of those involved.

"The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins is told by three different women.

Rachel - An alcoholic who often drinks to the point of blacking out. She is reeling from the loss of her husband, who left her to marry his mistress.
Megan - Married to an emotionally abusive husband. She loves him but cannot resist sleeping with other men. She is haunted by a dark secret in her past.
Anna - The mistress who took away Rachel's husband. Her idyllic life with her new husband and baby is disrupted by Rachel's stalking.

The story involves the sudden disappearance of Megan. Rachel becomes obsessed with the case. Although she never met Megan, she would see her from her train nearly every day and fantasize about the perfect marriage she witnessed.

This suspenseful novel kept me interested until the end.

I loved the way the author began Megan's story a year before Rachel's, so we were able to see what led to her disappearance; I loved how Hawkins often related the same scene from three different perspectives; I loved how key factors were withheld and revealed later, taking the reader in a new direction; and I loved that each of the narrators was fatally flawed and unreliable, so we were left to guess at the truth.

The only weak point came near the end when the villain arrogantly and foolishly began relating their crime, reminiscent of a James Bond villain.

But this can be forgiven after the rollercoaster ride that is this novel.

Aug 01, 2020

This would make a good thriller movie. There is no great mystery in the book, just suspense as to how the reveal will occur. Very few characters, so no long list of suspects, but we found it a fun read as one of our project books.

Petehere99 Jul 21, 2020

I've recently finished reading The Girl on the Train, though I've yet to see the movie version. It was a very good mystery, but I fear a proper review might give away some key plot points. Therefore, you'll have to suffer through a poem instead. But I do hope you will either read or see the movie version of The Girl on the Train. It was special to me because I read it while riding on the train back and forth to work. I was the boy on the train reading about the girl on the train. Anyway, here comes the poem. I hope it doesn't spoil anything for anyone.

Girl on the Train

She feels nothing special,
no need to dress, kind of plain.
Her best days behind her,
she’s just a girl on the train.

She’s kind of a loner,
and barely sober,
her whole life going down the drain.
She’s just a girl on the train.

She can’t feel your pain,
she’s got much of her own.
You can’t sit next to her,
she wants to be alone.
She’s a girl on the train.

She’s seen something strange,
but what can you do?
One of the suspects
just might be you.
She’s a girl on the train.
She’s just a girl on the train.

But maybe there’s hope,
if she can only remember.
It’s closer than she thinks,
and they’ll want her to surrender.
She’s a girl on the train.
She’s just a girl on the train.

It’s getting clearer now,
but time’s not her friend.
One false move
and it might be the end.
She’s a girl on the train.

She’s just a girl on the train.

“Track number nine will be departing in one minute… Track number nine will be departing in one minute… All aboard!”

Jul 07, 2020

Real page turner- I usually read historical fiction but this was a great diversion from the pandemic. Very engrossing. Be prepared for an all night reading binge!

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Feb 10, 2018

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Dec 17, 2017

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Dec 03, 2017

Gray_fox_1989 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Oct 24, 2017

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Jan 04, 2016

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Nov 01, 2015

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Aug 31, 2015

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May 28, 2015

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Add a Quote
Apr 14, 2017

“I have never understood how people can blithely disregard the damage they do by following their hearts.”

Apr 14, 2017

“Hollowness: that I understand. I'm starting to believe that there isn't anything you can do to fix it. That's what I've taken from the therapy sessions: the holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps”

Jun 25, 2016

I had a teacher at school who told me once that I was a mistress of self-reinvention. I didn't know what he was on about at the time, I thought he was putting me on, but I've since come to like the idea. Runaway, lover, wife, waitress, gallery manager, nanny, and a few more in between. So who do I want to be tomorrow?

Feb 29, 2016

“Living like this, the way I’m living at the moment, is harder in the summer when there is so much daylight, so little cover of darkness, when everyone is out and about, being flagrantly, aggressively happy.”

“Sometimes I catch myself trying to remember the last time I had meaningful physical contact with another person, just a hug or a heartfelt squeeze of my hand.”

“It’s possible to miss what you’ve never had, to mourn for it.”

“There’s nothing so painful, so corrosive, as suspicion.”

Aug 18, 2015

Rachel's mindset:

I had a teacher at school who told me once that I was a mistress of self-reinvention. I didn’t know what he was on about at the time, I thought he was putting me on, but I’ve since come to like the idea. Runaway, lover, wife, waitress, gallery manager, nanny, and a few more in between. So who do I want to be tomorrow? I didn’t really mean to quit, the words just came

I might have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. I might be a barren, divorced, soon-to-be-homeless alcoholic.

Parents don’t care about anything but their children. They are the centre of the universe; they are all that really counts. Nobody else is important, no one else’s suffering or joy matters, none of it is real.

I lay there and I thought of what that teacher said, and of all the things I’d been: child, rebellious teenager, runaway, whore, lover, bad mother, bad wife. I’m not sure if I can remake myself as a good wife, but a good mother—that I have to try.

Jan 15, 2015

"Blackouts happen, and it isn't just a matter of being a but hazy about getting home from the club... Tom bought me a book about it. Not very romantic, but he was tired of listening to me tell him how sorry I was in the morning when I didn't even know what I was sorry for. I think he wanted me to see the damage I was doing, the kind of things I was capable of..." ~Rachel


Add a Summary
Jan 04, 2017

Enjoyed reading. Loved all the twists and turns of Rachel.

Oct 07, 2015

"Rachel Watson, the principal narrator of Hawkins's psychologically astute debut, is obsessed with her ex-husband, Tom. She's having a hard time putting the past behind her, especially since she confronts it daily, during the hourlong commute to London from her rented room in Ashbury, Oxfordshire, when her train passes the Victorian house she once shared with Tom. She also frequently spies an attractive couple, four doors down from her former home, who she imagines to be enjoying the happily-ever-after that eluded her. Then, suddenly, the woman, pixie-ish blonde Megan Hipwell, vanishes—only to turn up on the front page of the tabloids as missing. The police want to question Rachel, after Anna, Tom's new wife, tells them that Rachel was in the area drunkenly out of control around the time of Megan's disappearance. Hawkins, formerly deputy personal finance editor of the Times of London, deftly shifts between the accounts of the addled Rachel, as she desperately tries to remember what happened, Megan, and, eventually, Anna, for maximum suspense. The surprise-packed narratives hurtle toward a stunning climax, horrifying as a train wreck and just as riveting." Agent: Lizzy Kremer, David Higham Associates (U.K.). (Jan.)
[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz

May 28, 2015

Rachel creates a fantasy about the seemingly perfect couple she sees during her daily train ride into London. When the woman goes missing, Rachel manages to insert herself into the investigation of the woman’s disappearance.

siammarino May 07, 2015

Rachel is divorced, depressed, and alcoholic, but she manages to remember who brutally hit her, and solve the mystery of a missing woman. I liked the psychological inquiry into alcoholism and its effects, but I did get confused by the various female characters in the book.


Add Notices
Sep 01, 2016

Frightening or Intense Scenes: The culmination of the book has a particularly gruesome scene.

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