Title: The Girl On The Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Random House
Price: Rs. 210 on Amazon
I had heard so much about this book from various sources, but was still skeptical about picking this up because there are a lot of highly spoken about books that I have not liked even a bit. The Fault In Our Stars being the front runner. But when a few people whose choice in books I trust, recommended this, I decided to finally pick it up. The fact that it is soon going to be made into a movie fueled the decision. I like watching movies based on books. Mainly to see how another human has interpreted the book and next to find out what was better. The book or the movie. More often than not I know that the book would be better, but still curiosity always gets the better of me. I bought the kindle version of the book and gave myself three days to finish it.
The story starts off with Rachel Watson, who is the girl on the train. Rachel has a drinking problem and has been fired from her job. Her room mate Cathy, who is clearly pissed with Rachel's lifestyle does not know that Rachel is now jobless. In order to keep Cathy thinking that she has a job, Rachel leaves the house every morning and takes a train to London where she spends time in a library and returns home every evening. On the way to London, Rachel sees a string of houses from the train. Number fifteen becomes her favorite as she watches a couple whom she has named Jason and Jess lead a perfect life. The perfect life that she once had in a house three houses away until Anna brutally came into her life.
Anna, now married to Rachel's ex-husband Tom and has his daughter Evie continues to live in the shadow of Rachel right in her house. Anna is annoyed by the concern Tom still shows for his ex. Rachel makes her presence in their lives every now and then and Anna is not the one to take it lightly. Some where deep in her heart, she suspects that her husband is having an affair with his ex.
Rachel's Jason and Jess turn out to be Megan and Scott Hipwell. Megan is a bored housewife who doesn't know what to do with her life and is disturbed in more ways than one. Scott loves and adores his wife and wants to start a family with her. But Megan is least interested in being a mother. When she takes up a job at Tom and Anna's house as their baby sitter or child minder, Scott hopes that Megan will change her mind. But instead, Megan goes missing one fine day.
When Rachel sees the news of Megan's missing, she realizes that she knows something about it. Not knowing what is right and wrong, thanks to her drinking problem she gets involved in the mystery which only takes her down. Where is Megan? How is Rachel connected to all of this? And what finally happens to the girl on the train is what forms the story.
When I started reading this book, I was bored. The writing through brilliant gets repetitive thanks to the same train journey the protagonist takes every day. A lot of time is spent in describing the lives of all the three women that it made me want to put it down at a point of time. Three days passed and the book remained where it was, talking to me about the train journey or what drink Rachel was having. Finally half way through the book, it takes such a giant leap that I was left dumbfounded. A part of it reminded me of Gone Girl and I expected a similar ending. But I changed my mind after a few chapters. I normally am really good at predicting the ending of books even before I'm done with a few chapters. I'm not gloating, blame the writing in the books. But this book kept me guessing every few pages. And when the climax was finally revealed, my jaw dropped. Now, that is what you call brilliant writing.
The multiple point of views are interesting to read and each character is described so beautifully. Every woman in the story is facing pain and how they all get connected to one another is something else altogether. The situations and descriptions are brilliant, although I would have liked some pace in the first half of the book. This book leaves no loose ends and comes together in one of the best climaxes I have read in a long long time. This is Paula Hawkins' debut novel and mark my word, this girl is going places thanks to the train!
Verdict: Deep, dark, poignant and disturbing. And yet so beautifully told. A must read.
Rating: 4 out of 5.