"I've lost control of everything, even the places in my head," thinks Rachel Watson, as she tries to decipher the events that take place throughout Paula Hawkins' debut thriller. Rachel is the main narrator of three revolving women who take the reader through Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train.
Not only do the differing narrators offer perspectives on a single event that the reader would not get with traditional storytelling, but the characters themselves are intriguing and interesting in their own right. Rachel, the main narrator, is unreliable and a bit of a drunk who recently went through a messy divorce. She becomes fascinated with a couple that she sees in her old neighborhood each morning when she takes the train into work, and that is where the novel really begins.
The second narrator is Megan, one half of the couple Rachel is fascinated by on her morning commute. Megan's narration delves into her life and how different it is from the way the literal "girl on a train" sees her each morning. The third narrator is Anna, who is Rachel's ex-husband's new wife. She lives in Rachel's old neighborhood, and the three narratives clash and intersect in interesting ways throughout the novel.
Without diving into too many details, the novel centers around Megan's disappearance coupled with Rachel's reaction and subsequent actions surrounding it. Rachel's alcoholic tendencies skew her memories and make her characterization both interesting and intensely frustrating.
The character's narration of the events can be a bit repetitive at times when the narrator is constantly reminding the reader that she does not remember what happened because of her drinking. Rachel says, "I went from being a drinker to a drunk, and there's nothing more boring than that." This standing in place and lack of progress can be felt by the reader a few times through the novel.
Paula Hawkins' writing style is engrossing and pulls the reader into the story. I read this book on a single plane ride, and was riveted through most of it. The mystery gets deeper and the story casts a wide net by the end of the book, involving many different characters.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for something fun and easy to get into for some light reading. I found myself drawn to the story and I did not want to put this book down. However, the memory of reading it has not stuck with me the way so many other books have.