Note: This is NOT a book review. It’s more of a story as to why I chose the book for the challenge and my reflection after having read it. See full challenge list at the bottom of the post.
Note 2: Profanity is about to fly around here. You’ve been warned.
You know it’s a good book when it sucks you right in and makes you feel very passionately about the characters. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is one of those great books.
I fucking hate all of these people. Every. Single. Character. Hate them all.
So, there’s Rachel, the alcoholic divorcee. Her ex Tom married the mistress Anna, and they lived in the house she and Tom shared, right off the commuter train tracks. A few doors down from that house lived another seemingly perfect couple Megan and Scott whose lives Rachel observed from her daily train commute. One day, Rachel witnessed something unusual with Megan and Scott, and the next thing you know, Megan went missing. But did Rachel really see what she think she see?
No spoiler version: The writing is so good that I was completely wound up, straight hating them all. The twist was a good one. I didn’t feel like I wasted my time reading it because at the end, I do appreciate the fact that the writing got me all emotional. Would I read it again? No. But would I recommend it? Kind of. But frankly, I’d rather recommend Gillian Flyn’s Gone Girl.
And next up for the book challenge: #2 A book you should have read in school, or #5 A book you can finish in a day.
Now, for the full profanity-laden rant is just beyond this graphic. I’m going deep into ranting about the specifics. If you are planning to read The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, or see either one of the movies, stop right here and say goodbye now. I’m about to go crazy on the motherfuckers in both books/movies.
Alright. Here we go.
It’s hard to not compare The Girl on the Train to Gone Girl. Both have a girl who’s gone missing and everyone blames the husband. Both are suspenseful whodunits filled with horrible human beings.
Remember the conversation about my sick and twisted mind when we talked about my obsession with The Shining? It’s my fascination with charismatic, intelligent psychopaths that makes me one of the few people in the world who actually like Gone Girl‘s Amy. She’s so manipulative, calculating, vindictive, and awful in such a way that earns my respect. Amy is right up there with Hannibal Lector in the mind fuck department. She got you so wrapped up in her reality and got you so beaten down and morphed your reality in such a way that you think there is no other way out except to her way.
I mean, Gillian Flyn is masterful with her writing. The creativity she put into weaving this elaborate web of manipulation amazes me. Amy manipulates her reality, and Flyn manipulates the readers like me. Respect!
Now, back to The Girl on the Train. The only player here is Tom. Since the story was told from the point of view of the three women to whom Tom had been lying, the readers are just as clueless to his evil as they are until the truth was revealed in the end. It was too little too late for me to actually care that the women had been the victim of Tom’s manipulation. I was too busy hating everybody in the book.
But that’s the thing. Paula Hawkins wrote the three women so well that I feel like I really know them. And really hate their guts. I found myself yelling at the book a lot.
“Oh my GOD, Rachel! What the fuck?! Why are you even going into Scott’s house?! Why?! WHY?!?!?!”
I guess it’s the reality of alcoholism that keeps Rachel in a spiral. One shouldn’t judge people with addiction. But here I was, a walking book of “things not to say to an alcoholic.” How do you not want to stop already? Have some will power. Stop lying to your friends. Go get some help. Attend an AA. Oh my god, there she goes again! Sigh. SMH. Roll eye.
Now I feel horrible for judging the poor girl. And she’s not even real!
“Life as an artist it’s so hard. Being unemployed is hard. I don’t have any friends except this girl I go do pilates and get coffee with in the middle of the day. It’s so difficult to be me. SHUT UP MEGAN!!!”
Oh, Mopey Megan and her infinite woes. We did find out why she’s damaged but being beautiful and artsy and free spirited in suburbia makes Megan a dull girl. Oh look, a man is looking at me, I’m so bored so I’m just going to jump on that penis. Get a job and find some purpose, woman!
“Huh. You stole his man now she stalks your family. Karma is a bitch, ain’t she, Anna? Now, stop your whining!”
Anna and her vanity wasn’t horrible. Just annoying. Me, me, me! It’s all about me! Then again, if she wasn’t such a narcissist in the first place, she wouldn’t have enjoyed wrecking other people’s marriage and being a mistress.
All of them are damaged goods. And I want to see them all get what’s coming to them for their horribleness.
I must admit, I was hate-reading for most of the book. I was very, VERY close to quitting when curiosity got the better of me. Now I wanted answers.
Well, more like I was waiting to discover how fucked up it’s going to get at the end.
Like maybe Rachel blacked out, and came to Tom’s house to find Tom and Anna having sex in the living room. In a drunken blind rage, she killed Anna. But in fact, it wasn’t Anna at all but Megan. But because of her black out, she didn’t remember any of it. Tom was the only one who knew the truth. He dealt with the body and crime scene clean up in a way that everything would point back to Rachel and not him.
Or maybe once Anna found out that Tom killed Megan, she helped him pinned everything on Rachel. Tom and Anna then lived happily ever after.
Or better yet, in the final scenes when Tom had Rachel in the kitchen. He just killed her in there. Anna then killed Tom, staging it as a self defense–Tom came after her when she discovered him killing Rachel. Why? Because Anna and Scott had been sleeping with each other this whole time too. Oh, and the baby was actually Scott’s.
Or best yet, the train derailed and destroyed all the homes next to the track, killing all of the characters as they were having their little arguments. The end.
See what great writing does to you? It makes you invest your emotions into the characters and the story.
So much so I just wrote this whole damn rant about it.
Now, go find yourself a great book to get lost in.
2016 Book Challenge
- A book that intimidates you.
- A book you should have read in school.
- A book published before you were born: The Shining, Stephen King.
- A book you’ve already read at least once.
- A book you can finish in a day.
- A book you previously abandoned.
- A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF
- A book you own but have never read.
- A book that was banned at some point.
- A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller (or Amazon): The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins.
- A book you’ve been meaning to read.
- A book that’s published this year.