EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Have you ever read a book where every single character is batshit crazy? I can now say I have. Yes, I haven’t read Gone Girl yet. Don’t judge me.
This book has a decent enough mystery: Woman goes missing, is found dead, everyone is a suspect, yada yada… I don’t need to write a review for that. The characters however… What the hell?!
The entire story is narrated by 3 female characters with varying degrees of crazy.
Let’s start with the lead character, Rachel. A non functioning alcoholic, I mean she should be used as a cautionary tale to scare teenagers away from alcohol; she is sober maybe 4 times in this entire book. Rachel is not a quiet drunk too, she literally engages in every single activity you are told never to do when drunk. Well, at least she’s not giving strange men blow jobs in dark alleys…
“I once read a book by a former alcoholic where she described giving oral sex to two different men, men she’d just met in a restaurant on a busy London high street. I read it and I thought, I’m not that bad. This is where the bar is set.”
She wasn’t always like this though. She had a life once, dreams, a career, a marriage etc. Now the closest she comes to all of these things is by living vicariously through the “perfect couple” she sees on her way to and from “work” every day. She has never met these people but that doesn’t stop her from naming them, “Jess and Jason”, giving them imaginary occupations and back stories.
She becomes so attached to the perfect reality she has imagined for this couple that when she witnesses “Jess” in what appears to be a romantic embrace with a man who is not “Jason”, she almost loses her mind. She takes this very personally and decides to go do something about it. Of course, she is blasted out of her mind when she makes this decision and when she wakes up the next day, she can’t remember the details of her night out. I should mention that this couple live in her old neighbourhood and are neighbours to her ex husband and his new wife.
Soon, she finds out that “Jess”, who is actually Megan, has gone missing. At this point, I wrote in my notebook, “She did it”. Because Rachel is so creepy and her thought process is so warped, I was sure she had killed Megan is a fit of rage for destroying her fantasy. My theory was further supported when, like an addict, the mystery of Megan’s disappearance and death seems to act like a substitute fix for her habit, for a while. She goes out of her way to immerse herself into the investigation and the life of the victim. It’s all too gross to repeat, to be honest.
Then we meet Megan, also known as Jess, who is also crazy. Like these women really need serious therapy; And Megan gets something masquerading as help. I don’t really understand the weird relationship she developed with her therapist. Anyways, Megan’s marriage is anything but perfect; but Megan is so messed up, she wouldn’t recognize a healthy relationship if it hit her over the head with a baseball bat.
Scott, also known as Jason, is some kind of controlling, jealous husband that deems it necessary to creep through his wife’s phone and laptop etc. Megan, of course thinks this is normal. After all, since she is a serial cheater she has given him reason not to trust her in the past. What?!
Finally, there’s Anna; “the other woman” who had an affair with Rachel’s husband and subsequently married and now has a child with him. I have to say I hate Anna with a passion. She is the worst of the three because she actually believes that she’s sane.
She is the caricature of the side chick: selfish, super self involved, every incident has to revolve around her. She’s not completely wrong in the end; but that doesn’t make her less annoying and evil. Her only redeeming factor is her love for her child.
I could go on and on but this is not my thesis so I’ll just go straight to the things I loved or didn’t particularly like about this book.
- I loved the first person narrative with different voices. Every time I was reading from one point of view, I found myself kind of siding with the character a little. Even Anna, who once I step out of her head, I really really dislike.
- The story is not told chronologically, which makes sense since Megan is not around in the present.
- The Killer: I’m glad that I worked it out before the big reveal but I still did not see it coming.
- I also liked the lack of traditional chapters. The use of time and date was a new experience for me and I eventually got into it. Which brings me to the…
- I could not keep up with the time and date format in the beginning. And it took forgetting about it to get into it.
- Most of the end was unnecessary, in my opinion. There’s no way to properly vent about this without spoiling the story though. So, I’ll just keep my trap shut.
If you have read this book, and want to ambiguously discuss this with me. Let’s talk in the comments.
I don’t think I can fully express how I feel about this book 2 weeks after reading it. So I’m just going to share this note I wrote towards the ending.
Takes you through the pages. WTF is going on? And then when it starts to come together, it’s fast and furious. WTF!!! It’s 2am and I’m not sleeping.
2nd Thriller of the year & it is Awesome.
Title: The Girl on The Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Published by: Riverhead Books
Year of Publication: 2015