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Friday, April 17, 2015

The Girl on the Train: A Novel

Murder and mayhem, that's my jam. When I found out my beloved book club was reading Paula Hawkins's The Girl on the Train I almost wept with joy. I had been hearing the buzz and couldn't wait to read it. Was it worth it? Continue reading...

Rachel is a bit down and out. She's an alcoholic that is still reeling from her divorce from Tom after his affair with Anna, to whom he is now married with a child. She's lost her job due to a drunken mishap, but she still takes the 8:04 into London every day. The train pauses at a signal near Whitney, which happens to provide a view of her former backyard as well as that of the neighbors. Rachel falls in love with one couple whom she gives names and envisions a perfect life for. When the wife of that couple goes missing, it becomes national news -- and it turns out Rachel was in the neighborhood that night. She can't remember anything though. Why was she there? What happened that night? Why are there more questions than answers in these lives to intertwined yet so disparate? 

Where do I even begin to start to describe this book? It was fantastic, it was amazing, I didn't want to put it down. Which of these exclamations do you prefer? I seriously love this book, and not just because it was a book club pick and I was able to hear the author discuss the work. It was genuinely creepy and honest and empathetic at the same time. I know this book has gotten a lot of traction since the new year, and it's well deserved. In fact, I found that I spilled wine on it before I even started, and it was only after I finished the book that I realized how appropriate it was that I spilled wine on this specific book. I even told Hawkins that and it made her laugh. WIN!

The narrator is an alcoholic. That's the premise of this book, so it's really not giving anything away. After several rounds of her going to London in the morning and hold the night you start to realize the truth of who she is. She clearly drinks too much, but it turns out she is a dyed in the wool alcoholic. This underscores a lot of her crazy decisions, but it also makes her behavior difficult at times to understand yet so easy to relate to. It's almost as though she's living a life and making decisions that I would never do in a million years only because I'm too afraid of the consequences. The alcohol numbs that fear, and allows her to take the story into the deepest, darkest places you could ever imagine.

When I was able to hear the author discuss her work, and answer questions that are bookclub about Rachel and the story, I didn't have much to ask. Not because I couldn't come up with any questions, but listening to the author talk about her work and where she was in it and how it came about was so fascinating. She's clearly a brilliant woman, and listening to her was such a gift.

I love crime, and I love true crime, but what I love most is a well-developed story that grips my head and won't shake free. The story was exactly that. It was well-crafted, thoroughly believable, extremely out there, yet based in reality. I am so thankful that I ended up purchasing this to hold onto it so that I can reread it again in a few months. I have a feeling it's one of the stories I'm going to catch more the second time around I didn't catch the first. I'll little bit like re-watching The Sixth Sense.

For purchase below. 

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