Rachel commutes to work every day by train. Her journey is made interesting each day by the passing glimpse of a couple who live in a Victorian home adjacent to the train tracks.
Drawn to their life, Rachel nicknames them Jason and Jess. To her, they represent the life she has lost, the love she once shared with her husband. To Rachel, Jason and Jess are the perfect couple. Until one day, sitting in the train, she witnesses something alarming that gets her further embroiled in the lives of this couple.
The premise of the novel assures an intriguing mystery, but the only time I found that it actually delivers is towards the end of the book when a lot of the plot points fall into place.
Up until then, this is largely a story of alcoholism, adultery, and abuse.
Rachel has been depicted as someone who is constantly in a state of inebriation, unable to stop meddling in the affairs of others. Her thoughts remain focused on her ex-husband and his new family, the couple she observes from the train, and she finds herself intervening in their lives repeatedly.
I don’t particularly need to love all the characters in a thriller to enjoy that book. But when the degree of my dislike for characters enters such an extreme territory, there’s little I can do to prevent myself from DNF-ing said book. And I barely got through this one.
Tom, Scott, Anna, Megan – nothing is appealing about either of these characters and so, I couldn’t remain engrossed in their storylines for more than a few minutes at a time, which is why it took me quite a while to finish reading The Girl on the Train.
The writing does not create an atmosphere of suspense because I feel like Rachel’s behaviour sort of overshadows the entire “mystery” angle.
Her roommate views her with pity, she detests her actions under the influence of alcohol, yet you don’t see her making any efforts to improve the quality of her life.
Considering the revelation at the end, I could understand how Rachel has been dealt a bad hand by fate, but that doesn’t really excuse her actions.
On the whole, this is a meh thriller. If you feel the need to succumb to the hype, by all means, read it. But at least, don’t go into it with a lot of expectations.