Holiday Reading – The Girl On The Train

I am a bit of a wuss.  I have watched all the series of Dexter, albeit sometimes through my fingers which were covering my eyes, but I always had to read something light and fluffy before going to sleep on those evenings.  And, many an episode of 24 has left me having bad dreams.  I never watch Crimewatch as I have terrible thoughts for weeks after and become paranoid about answering the front door to strangers.  It will come as no surprise to discover I don’t really read any crime or thrillers books.

My in-laws bought me The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins for my birthday and when I read the cover I thought ‘uh-oh, I’m not sure that is my sort of book’.  However, I hate not reading books which are presents, it feels very ungrateful and I do vaguely remember seeing Hawkins being interviewed by Charlie Stayt on BBC Breakfast one morning.  It was all a bit of an awkward interview from what I remember and I’m pretty sure Hawkins wasn’t that interested what he thought of it, I know I wasn’t, he sounded condescending.

book cover

The Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins

Anyway, I asked Mr ATWWAH if he had any overnight work trips planned and when he said no I decided I would be brave enough to read it.  I told you I was a wuss.  I’m so glad I did… is brilliant.  Mr ATWWAH even commented when I was reading it in bed one night that you can always tell when I am into a book as I go to bed early and when he comes upstairs and starts to chat I don’t take my eyes off the book and barely answer him.  Oops.

Back to the book….the story centres around Rachel, an alcoholic divorcee in her 30’s, who takes the same train into London every day.  The train stops at the same signal each day which overlooks a row of back gardens and she starts to obsesses over a couple who she sees most days in one of the gardens.  She even goes so far as to give them names, ‘Jess and Jason’, and decides that they have the perfect life.  However, one day, she sees something in their garden which shocks her and makes her question everything she thought she knew about them.

I don’t want to go into too much more detail on the plot as it will ruin it for anyone who hasn’t read the book.  Most women in their 30’s, indeed men too, have had their hearts broken at least once and I challenge anyone reading it not to feel for Rachel when she describes her feelings and the utter despair she is in over her divorce from Tom.  We’ve all been there, ringing an ex after a drink too many or sending what we thought at the time was a text message which would prove how utterly stupid they were for dumping us.  I was cringing as I read some bits of the book.

And, as in most break ups it is almost always for the best.  I hated Tom from the outset, he dumped Rachel and replaced her with someone he was having an affair with and subsequently got pregnant and then moved her into their house.  Throughout the book I got angry with Rachel for being so naïve about how upset she was over him.  He sounded a right selfish prat.

Rachel isn’t a completely sympathetic character, much like the rest of us, sometimes you felt like shaking her as she lurched from one bad decision to the next.  I think that is what made the book feel real to me though, every characters flaws were exposed and not apologised for.

When I got to the end of the book I was unsurprised to read that it has been optioned to be made into a film by DreamWorks (I assume not by the team who did Shrek, Madagascar etc…) as I could definitely see how it would work on film. I never read Gone Girl but saw it at the cinema and I imagine this would be similar although I’m already fretting over who would be cast as Rachel.

Even if you think thrillers aren’t for you check someone you live with is around for the next couple of weeks and give it a go, you won’t be disappointed.

If you are looking for more reading inspiration why not take a look at these recent holiday reading posts:

Man At The Helm by Nina Stibbe

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby






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