Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

A little while back, I read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, but I had yet to blog about it.  I got this title off of the list of books to read for fans of Gone Girl, but it was only really after I read it that the book took off.  Suddenly it was on tables at all the bookstores, and when I told people I was reading it or had read it, they told me they'd seen it recently or had just bought it themselves.

I loved this book, in some ways even better than Gone Girl.  It was basically the story of Gone Girl if Amy hadn't been Amy, and hadn't been scheming to get her husband in trouble.  How would it have changed things if she was missing for a valid reason, instead of her own conniving?

Of course, the story itself is different.  Instead of being told from the point of view of only the husband and the missing wife, the biggest point-of-view in this book is an outsider, an alcoholic who is still reeling from the divorce from her husband.  She's connected because she's still obsessed with her ex-husband, and watches the street where he lives every day as the train goes past -- and it's on this street where the other couple lives when the woman goes missing.  Her point-of-view alternates with the other female characters for a gripping narrative that packs a big punch at the very end.

I highly recommend this book, for people who liked or didn't like Gone Girl.  (Oddly, it seems not everyone does.)  The suspense is well-crafted and -maintained, but if you don't like unlikeable characters you may not like it, as the alcoholic main character can be frustrating and difficult to sympathize with at times.  Her alcoholism plays into the story line perfectly, though, and to me that made it worth it all in the end.

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