I came across a comment thread on The Girl on the Train and was astonished by the vitriolic comments, because I loved this book. I listened to the recorded version* and enjoyed the voices for the different narrators. This book is a mystery, but for me it is driven by character rather than plot. Our main character is Rachel, a divorced alcoholic who watches out the train window on her daily commute to the city, naming and making up life stories for the people she sees every day. Listening to her struggle through life gave me a new level of compassion for addicts, myself included (sugar, diet soda, love, and books, if you must know). One of the women she watches is Megan Hipwell, who disappears one night. Rachel goes to the police with what she thinks she knows and becomes ever more involved with the investigation, as well as with Megan’s husband, Scott.
The third narrator (besides Rachel and Megan) is Anna, the second wife of Rachel’s ex-husband, Tom. Anna hates Rachel and wants her out of their lives. Again, hearing the story through Megan’s voice makes us feel her pain at having lost Tom and her helplessness to pull out of her addiction.
Because this is a mystery, I don’t want to comment much about the plot. As in life, things are not always as they seem; at times I doubted Rachel’s trustworthiness as narrator. The climax is dramatic; for me it was unexpected and redemptive.
A movie based on the book was released last weekend. I meant to post this last week to give you a week to read the book before seeing the movie. I cannot imagine a movie portraying Rachel’s inner life in the detail we need to understand her. So read fast and let me know how the movie was if you see it. Please don’t judge this book by the movie. I loved this book!
*Recent research shows that reading with your ears reaps most of the benefits of reading with your eyes, so listening to a book counts as reading (in my book, haha).