Release: 15th January 2015
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
"Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…"
People watching is a pastime that most people indulge in on their daily commute. When you see the same faces every day it’s easy to imagine what their lives might be like.
Rachel’s train stops outside the same row of houses every day and so a couple who live at one of the houses who Rachel has named “Jason and Jess” have come to feel familiar to her as she watches them live their lives for a couple of minutes each day.
Then one day Rachel witnesses Jess kissing somebody who isn’t Jason and when she sees Jess – whose real name is Megan- is missing in the news the life that she’s observed for so long collides with her own as she becomes obsessed with unravelling the mystery.
It becomes apparent early on in the book that Rachel is an unstable character. In the last two years her marriage has broken down after her ex-husbands affair, she’s had to leave her beloved home and she’s been fired, all the while becoming more and more dependent on alcohol to get through each day. She uses the mystery surrounding Megan’s disappearance as a distraction from her own life and the lengths she’ll go to to be involved are certainly unhinged.
I think that a lot of people who pick this book up will find Rachel unlikeable but I was sympathetic towards her situation and found her such a compelling character to read about. The fact that she often experiences blackouts in her memory when she’s been drinking made her a very unreliable character who kept me guessing.
I have to admit that I did see where the book was going when I was about half way in but there was also a lot of new information uncovered throughout the book that made me question myself. I really struggled to put this book down because I had to know if I was right!
Overall The Girl on the Train was a well written and original thriller that I think would translate beautifully to the big screen. With the age old moral of never knowing what goes on behind closed doors it also shines a chilling light on the fact that we never really know those closest to us either.