The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkinsthe-girl-on-the-train

Pages: 325

Genre: Thriller, contemporary, mystery, crime, fiction

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.

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?

So, I did intend to write this review a while ago, but time has really gotten away from me. Drowning in study and assignments at the moment, and writing this now, I’m sort of procrastinating. But anyway, I’ve got quite a few thoughts on The Girl on the Train. Let’s see, where to start…

I thought this sounded like an interesting idea when I got the gist of the storyline, and if were done well, I think it would have been really cool. But the writing was just really boring and clumsy that it took away from the story. It started off a little depressing and slow, and by the time the ‘exciting’ bit had begun, I was already turned away.

“I have lost control over everything, even the places in my head.”
― Paula HawkinsThe Girl on the Train

One thing I absolutely hated was the characters. There was literally nothing to like about them. Three women narrate this story, Rachel, Anna, and Megan, and it starts off with Rachel. Let’s just say she’s a very bad alcoholic. In some parts, I got the feeling that I might be able to feel sorry for her, as she did seem to have pretty rotten luck, but she was also the weakest person in the entire world at some points as well. It got very tiresome very quickly, when she just went back to drinking every time a problem arose. If she’d just stayed sober, maybe she would have figured it out a lot quicker… Just a slight feeling I’m getting….

Then there is Anna, who is just mean and generally un-likeable throughout the entire story. Not much else that is interesting about her. And then Megan. I thought she was okay at the start of the book, and she seemed like the only likeable character, but then as the book progressed, more things were brought up about her past, and what she did, and she ended up being just as bad as the other two. So, all the women are pretty lousy in my perspective, and I’m not sure the author wanted it this way or not. Maybe she planned for them all to be weak and unpleasant, but I would have appreciated it if there was at least one strong female.

“When did you become so weak?” I don’t know. I don’t know where that strength went, I don’t remember losing it. I think that over time it got chipped away, bit by bit, by life, by the living of it.”
― Paula HawkinsThe Girl on the Train

Despite all this ranting, I still think the storyline had a good idea and theme to it, and I wanted to know how it was going to end. Being a murder mystery, there are heaps of people saying they figured it out in the first 3 chapters and all that, but I’m actually terrible at that sort of thing. So, I can’t really say it was predictable. But, it wasn’t as much of a shock as I thought it might be, which led to it being quite weak in my opinion. And then everything after that was also a bit short and lacking as well. I feel like it needed more, because the answer was just revealed, and then it basically finished. No resolutions were made. The characters were all still boring. There was just no real development over the entire book. The characters were just going round and round in circles for most of it.

“I want to drag knives over my skin, just to feel something other than shame, but I’m not even brave enough for that”
― Paula HawkinsThe Girl on the Train

Alright, I’m done. I guess you got the picture that I didn’t really like this book. The only reason it would be OK is because the ending kept me guessing, although in the end, it wasn’t that much of a shock anyway. It’s sort of like the cheap reality TV shows, that have bad acting and the storyline is so boring because nothing ever happens. Yeah, I’m going to liken it to that. It’s watchable, but after a while, it does get tiresome.

Rating: star_rating_2_of_5


A Study in Scarlet – Arthur Conan Doyle

Title: A Study in Scarletastudyinscarlet

Author: Author Conan Doyle

Genre: Crime, detective story, mystery, historical fiction

Thoughts: I thought I might try to read some crime and detective stories on the holidays, and so got out the originals, the fathers of detective: Sherlock Homes. Arthur Conan Doyle’s original story, The Study in Scarlet, is the first story of the famous detective, and where he first meets his accomplice, Dr John Watson. After watching the modern TV series remake, I was pleased to see that a number of the facts were kept the same, but it was still fun to figure out the crime, as there were differences.

“What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. The question is what can you make people believe you have done.”
― Arthur Conan DoyleA Study in Scarlet

 It was a hard read, you have to concentrate to get all the details, so it took a little while to fully understand what was going on. It was easier as I had some idea of what was going to happen, but it is definitely something you have to concentrate on. The amount of detail in the plot line and the amount of research behind it was astounding. It seems almost normal while you’re reading about the crime solving, that Sherlock Holmes can hold all this information in his head. It’s easy to forget that someone had to research all this information about footprint tracking, and the different types of tobacco, and then apply it to his plot line in a book. 

“To a great mind, nothing is little,’ remarked Holmes, sententiously.”
― Arthur Conan DoyleA Study in Scarlet

Obviously the story is well planned and set out. I also like the characters, and the way Sherlock interacts with John at the beginning and at the end, and then how both of them interact with the two police officers. Both Sherlock and John have very sarcastic attitudes about certain things, and these little comments were what brought the book up that little bit extra. 

“It’s quite exciting,” said Sherlock Holmes, with a yawn.”
― Arthur Conan DoyleA Study in Scarlet

I quite enjoyed the journey of the crime solving during this story, and my favourite part would have to be when Sherlock explains how he reached his conclusion. He makes it sound easy, but in reality, to notice all those little details is near impossible. The writing style does make it a little harder to enjoy, as you have to concentrate hard, but it was an enjoyable storyline.

“It was easier to know it than to explain why I know it. If you were asked to prove that two and two made four, you might find some difficulty, and yet you are quite sure of the fact.
― Arthur Conan DoyleA Study in Scarlet

Why should you read it: For anyone who likes detective stories, and who hasn’t already read the Sherlock Holmes stories, get onto it quickly. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has most definitely done his research, particularly for his first story.

Book in a word: Puzzling

Rating: 8/10


Murder in the Vicarage – Agatha Christie (Miss Marple)

Title: Murder in the Vicaragemurder in the vicarage

Author: Agatha Christie

Genre: Murder-mystery, detective

Thoughts: Now as this was the first Agatha Christie novel I had read, it was a bit hard getting used to. This is for a few reasons, the most obvious being the type of language used. It’s all very formal, and there are also a lot of characters. Some books have more characters than this, but what makes this hard to read is that they are all introduced in the first chapter. I actually thought about just giving up, but I pushed through, and even though I still stayed confused by some things, the plot got better. Sometimes, when a certain character was speaking, I still had to stop reading, and actually think about who they actually were, and then continue. This deducted from the quality of the plot-line as I wasn’t fully concentrating on the story. But, as I said, you do get used to it, and I did enjoy the mystery of it after a while.

Yes, as the story progresses, the murder happens, (obviously, it is a murder mystery) and lots of different theories are cast about who the murderer is. I enjoyed the mystery of it, and tried to figure out for myself who it was. But I couldn’t. There were way too many characters, too many theories, and many people lying. I did have a guess or two, but I bet you won’t know who did it. It was who I least expected…

I think a way to improve this book, is to maybe introduce less characters in the first chapter and space them out a little. This will help with remembering them and also conveying the messages of the story a little better as well. For example, there are many quotes from the characters in this book, that are quite interesting, and ones that I like.

“Intuition is like reading a word without having to spell it out. A child can’t do that because it has had so little experience. A grown-up person knows the word because they’ve seen it often before.”
― Agatha ChristieMurder at the Vicarage

I like this explanation of intuition. It explains how grown up people, or older people can understand the message easier and quicker than younger people. It uses a simile to help convey this quote. These types of sentences all throughout the book. This was another feature that I like about the book.

Why should you read it: Well, if you like a bit of mystery, or you like to try and figure out the answer to a question before anyone else, then this book is definitely for you. As I haven’t read any other Agatha Christie books, I don’t know if they are similar, but I would presume so, as they seem to be all about murder and mystery. So, if you have read any others of her books, then you should get your hands on this one.

Book in a word: Mysterious

Rating: 6½/10