Reviewing the Pages: The Girl on the Train

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EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life as she sees it is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It s only a minute until the train moves on, but it s enough. Now everything s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?”At the very heart of this, is a mystery. A mystery that slowly unfolds itself over the 300 plus pages of the copy I read through. Through every section, a little more of the jigsaw puzzle gets put into place and the bigger picture of the one night in question gets thrown together. Now, while I enjoyed the read, I didn’t enjoy the characters. There were times where I would have to stop during my reading burst on my lunch break and be like “I can’t handle you right now”. Because that’s exactly how I felt about a lot of the characters. But, that’s kind of what makes this book. The characters are dark, gritty, and show off the worst of what humanity is.

At the very heart of this, is a mystery. A mystery that slowly unfolds itself over the 300 plus pages of the copy I read through. Through every section, a little more of the jigsaw puzzle gets put into place and the bigger picture of the one night in question gets thrown together. Now, while I enjoyed the read, I didn’t enjoy the characters. There were times where I would have to stop during my reading burst on my lunch break and be like “I can’t handle you right now”. Because that’s exactly how I felt about a lot of the characters. But, that’s kind of what makes this book. The characters are dark, gritty, and show off the worst of what humanity is.

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Ok.  Remember above, when I said I didn’t like the characters? I LOATHE each and every one of them.  There’s not a normal character in the bunch.  I was originally going to say everyone but Scott, but even he had his faults with his violent outbursts.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I loved the story.  I loved the mystery at the heart of it all: Who killed Megan? I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love the characters.  I hated Rachel’s incessant need to remember.  I hated Tom for his wishy-washiness on Rachel.  I hated Anna for, at least at the beginning, being a snob (though, at the VERY end, redeemed herself).  And as far as Megan goes, I don’t know what to make of the reasons why I don’t like her.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t know if I really like the “unreliable narrator” usage in fiction.  Even though, in suspenseful mysteries such as this one, it works because it helps reveal the mystery little by little.  Does it feel like I’m ranting.  I think I’m ranting.  This doesn’t sound like much of a review…but more of a rant.  ANYWHO…

The book does a really good job of keeping the suspicion off of our main guy for a good long while (Hey.  While this is a spoiler zone, I’m not going to give away all of the juicy bits.  Got to tease you a little bit, if you wiiiiiiiiill). And what I like is that not all of the major reveals come from Rachel’s POV.  And when Rachel does get that information, it’s usually in the form of her own research, or news reports in print or on the air that helps guide the plot in the intended direction.

Overall, even though I have a personal dislike to the characters in this book, don’t let that stop you from picking this one up.  Especially if you are fond of both the unreliable narrator aspect of storytelling, and a good murder mystery.

Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

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