I finally got a chance to read The Girl in the Train, and Paula Hawkins did not disappoint.
The story follows the lives of three women: Rachel, Megan and Anna. We meet Rachel first, a divorced alcoholic who rides the train into London every day. Right off the bat, Rachel’s character is established as shaky, and we aren’t certain if she is struggling with mental health issues, or simply the affects of being an alcoholic– or both. But every day, Rachel observes the people in one certain house, imagining what their lives might be like. In her mind, they are perfectly happy and in love.
In reality, Megan, one half of Rachel’s couple, is struggling with her own mental health issues. Her husband is, in the least, borderline emotionally abusive, and Megan is haunted by her past. She is seeking help, trying to find what she needs to do to be whole, healed and happy.
Finally, Anna is the wife of Rachel’s ex husband, and lives just a few doors down from Megan. Paranoid about Rachel and protective of her family, Anna is on alert for any sign of Rachel in their neighborhood.
Their three stories cross when Megan goes missing and Rachel, convinced she can help but unsure of what she knows, tries any avenue that comes to mind.
Hawkins does an excellent job of showing how someone can have one part of the story, and make assumptions to fill in the blanks. The narratives are full of facts that manage to mislead you, leaving you guessing right up until the end. And yet everyone’a conclusions make sense as they’re reaching them, which makes it all that much more of an intriguing read.
The Girl on the Train keeps you on the edge of your seat, taking the pieces of narrative and trying to reconcile them to each other. And it’s not until you approach the end that you realize how many assumptions you’ve made yourself.