There’s nothing I find more eye-roll inducing than lazy marketing campaigns that rely on previous successes. So when I heard that this book was “the next Gone Girl” (a book I enjoyed quite a bit), well, you can safely assume that the eye-rolling commenced! This is why I left it a looonnnggg time before I decided to read this one; I wanted the hype to die down and to not be bombarded and influenced by all the reviews.
The book has three different narrators – all with their skewered version of events. We have Rachel, Anna, and Meghan. All three women have cause to be labeled an unreliable narrator – a trope that seems to have utilized tenfold since Gone Girl was published to international praise. However, for me, it turns into a bit of pity fest, and I lose a connection with the characters.
As mentioned above, perhaps my biggest gripe with this novel was indeed the portrayal of the characters. Without giving too much away, one group of the characters were given these complex, emotional issues (that quite frankly didn’t get the depth of exploration they deserved), and another group are painstakingly 2 dimensional. Having equally flawed and indeed, despicable, characters was one of the reasons I really enjoyed Gone Girl (Yes, I know, I keep comparing the two – but hey, the comparison was already made by the marketing), and in this case, Hawkins tries to get you to dislike certain characters, but just doesn’t have the necessary push-off-the-cliff-dedication.
I will give Hawkins her dues though: The Girl on the Train did keep me reading (or listening in this case), and it is entertaining. It might not be a When Harry Met Sally “I’ll have what she’s having” kinda experience, but it is definitely a quick entertaining read. Give this one a go, and if you’ve also read Gone Girl, let us know in the comments how you think the two compared and if you thought that maybe it is an unfair comparison.
Until next time,