Read Women Write 2014/15: Book 28 – Paula Hawkins – The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train, paula hawkins

I haven’t read a book this gripping in ages. I started it on the way to work, on a train, on Monday morning. All day at work on Monday I thought about it, and then read it on the way home again. Tuesday morning, same deal. But Tuesday evening, I came home and got straight into bed to keep reading and finished the whole thing. I literally had to force myself to stop reading to eat dinner – not something that has happened many times in my life I will tell you. I was gripped from the very first chapter, and was thrilled right to the end.

The book follows the story of Rachel, who takes the train to London each morning. Frequently, she watches the same house and starts to form a picture of the couple that live there. She believes they’re madly in love, and to an extent idolizes their relationship or at least the relationship she’s created for them in her mind. She calls them Jess and Jason, and imagines careers and lives for them. To her, they’re the perfect couple. Then one day, she sees something strange happen on their balcony, and soon, Jess is missing.

Rachel drinks too much, even on the train on the way home from work. The only reason she has started watching Jess and Jason’s house in the first place is because her ex-husband (Tom) lives in a house down the road with his new wife (Anna) and child – the same house that she and he lived in when they were married. For a while we’re not sure why, but you know that she’s not always 100% together, whether it’s because of drink or heartache. But, she believes she has seen something important that might help find Jess, and so she gets more involved than she should.

The exciting thing is, you don’t only get to hear from Rachel, but also from Anna and the woman Rachel soon learns is not called Jess, but Megan. Through each of their narratives you begin to piece together a more sinister tale.

The pace of this story is incredible. You keep thinking you’re going to stop reading, but then the end of a chapter lures you to the next. It was as gripping as Gone Girl – no, more gripping than Gone Girl. You’re never quite sure whose story to believe. Read it, read it, read it!!

Paula Hawkins was born in Zimbabwe, and now lives in London.