Predictable and disappointing…

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

girl-on-trainThis won’t be a long review. So much has been said about this thriller already, but I was profoundly disappointed by it, and won’t bother with the film either. Gone Girl was way better, (book and film; my book review here).

The story is told mostly through the eyes of Rachel – who goes past the backs of the road where she lived with her ex on the train to work every day. She’s not got over the split, she’s a depressed drunk, lodging in a friend’s bedroom. She harrasses her ex on the phone frequently.

On the train however, she fantasizes about another couple a few doors down – you can see into the houses sometimes, or they’re in the garden. When the woman disappears, Rachel is drawn to revisit the town where she lived because she saw something from the train. In between Rachel’s voice we flashback to Megan, and later Anna, Rachel’s ex’es new wife joins in. It all comes out eventually, but the twists lack the ingenuity of Gone Girl.

There were some things that really irked me, apart from the dislikeable characters.

The novel is set in the county of Bucks. apparently, but the invented town names she’s used are real towns in neighbouring Oxfordshire – including Witney where the action happens. Witney, constituency of our former PM David Cameron, does not have a station or train line going by it so this felt lazy.

Megan is going to a therapist – and she suffers from transference. The therapist comes to her home, and she goes to his – surely, it should have been kept to the office? Not very professional.

In this case, the novel wasn’t worth the hype. It was OK, but I did guess whodunnit way back. (6/10)

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Source: Own copy

18 thoughts on “Predictable and disappointing…

  1. Denise says:

    Oh so relieved to read this review after seeing esteemed colleagues rave about both book and film. Yes, you are right about Gone Girl being so much better – more energetic and more original. I found this so dreary, and the characters were dislikeable for all the wrong reasons – being moany and self-pitying.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      There are just too many books hyped as the next Gone Girl, and now the next Girl on the Train! Makes it so hard to pick which are really worth reading.

  2. Harriet Devine says:

    I never read this because several reviews I read led me to think it wasn’t worth the hype. I might go to the film out of curiosity but I definitely won’t bother with the book. I agree about Gone Girl — brilliant.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Hype is not about discerning the best material, it’s about marketing budget, so disappointment is often inevitable – I agree.

  3. Jenny @ Reading the End says:

    This was one where I wasn’t that interested in the book when it first came out and there was so much hype around it — just because even though I liked Gone Girl, I wasn’t that crazy about the TYPE OF BOOK Gone Girl was, so “the next Gone Girl” wasn’t going to be a huge selling point for me. And now enough people have said they didn’t like it that I’m probably not going to make space for it in my reading schedule.

    (I don’t have a reading schedule. Ha ha I am way too undisciplined for that.)

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      As I said to Linda, hype is about marketing budget not quality of writing. My reading schedule is very similar to yours 🙂

  4. helen says:

    Well, I have to say that I enjoyed most of it – I thought the end was silly and yes it was obvious who the killer was, but I thought it was OK for what it was. I agree completely over-hyped and I think the author will go on to do better things, but it got me through exam week last June so I am not complaining. Also, I liked the main character, I thought she was well drawn. I haven’t read Gone Girl though – I watched the film and that put me off.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Maybe I made it seem worse than it was! Not the best by a mile though and I too hope for better things from this author.

  5. Sakura says:

    I thought Gone Girl was great and deserved the hype so I was curious about this one. I know some people who really enjoyed this one so I’ll probably get to it someday but I’m reluctant to buy myself a copy (too many books etc.)

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