Wednesday, June 8, 2016

There's nothing so painful, so corrosive, as suspicion

I meant to write a post over the weekend, which is typically when I write these things because during the week my brain does not work so well. (BTW, coming up with "my brain does not work so well" took a good 5 minutes.) There's a lot of mental energy expended at work and when I'm done I want to do mindless stuff. But this past weekend (for those not following me on Instagram) we finally got a headboard (which is also a bookshelf!) and bed frame (which is also a dresser!) and I spent allllll day Sunday putting it together and my legs still hurt and I can't figure out what I did to them but they are ANGRY at me. What I'm saying is, this may not be the most coherent thing. ANYWAY The Girl on the Train. Perhaps you've heard of it.
Other than seeing it everywhere, I feel like I avoided the hype. I didn't know anything about it beyond the cover, which is probably the best way to approach this book. It's a thriller. It's suspenseful. There's an unreliable narrator (who knows herself to be unreliable, which is an interesting change). There are multiple POVs. And yes, there is a girl on a train.

Said girl on the train (who isn't a girl but an actual adult, but ever since Gone Girl all these books need to have "girl" in the title because if it worked once it will work a zillion more times! #marketing) is Rachel. Rachel rides the same trains to and from London from her place in the suburbs, passing by the same houses and making up stories for the occupants. Like the couple she's named "Jason" and "Jess", who seem to have a perfect, loving marriage. Until Rachel sees "Jess" kissing someone who is not "Jason". And then "Jess" (actually Megan) goes missing - the story is all over the tabloids - and Rachel feels like she has to go to "Jason" (actually Scott) to tell him what she saw. Maybe this mysterious person is responsible?

Here's the thing. Rachel has a bit of a drinking problem. More than a bit. She is an alcoholic, regularly blacking out and man, sometimes it was hard to read because I just wanted to shake her. She knows she's making bad decisions but she can't seem to help herself. Hence the highly unreliable narrator. Even Rachel isn't sure what she has or hasn't seen. You can't accuse Hawkins of worrying about making her female characters too likable (and PS, that is a good thing).

I don't want to say anything more cos really, I think the less known about the book the better. And it is a good and suspenseful and satisfying read. You never know who to believe. Between the times I wanted to shake Rachel (and Megan from time to time), I really wanted to know what would happen next. Which hey, isn't that everything you want from a thriller?

Gif rating:
Title quote from location 3494

Hawkins, Paula. The Girl on the Train. Riverhead Books, 2015. Kindle