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BOOK REVIEW - by Diane McCurdy - The Girl on the Train


BOOK REVIEW - by Diane McCurdy
The Girl on the Train 

By Diane McCurdy

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins has been chugging along at the top of the best seller lists all summer. It does not have quite the punch of last year’s sensation, Gone Girl, but they definitely belong to the same genre, the psychological thriller. Basically the reader ruminates in the heads of three women: Rachel, the protagonist, Anna, Rachel’s husband’s new wife and Megan who has gone missing.

Rachel is pitiful. Her husband has left her and she has lost her job. She is overweight and an alcoholic. Pretending to go to work every day so as not to upset her roommate, she peers longingly out of the window of the commuter train. On the street where she once lived she sees a couple and revels in their seemingly idyllic relationship. This is her deluded fantasy. They are like Barbie and Ken. Then one day she sees the woman do something untoward and soon afterward the woman goes missing. Into this mix lies another disturbing issue surrounding Rachel. When she goes on one of her drunken binges, she sometimes has blackouts. She knows at one point that something terrible happened but she cannot remember what it was. As damaged and as self-destructive as Rachel is she is still a sympathetic character. Driven by her loneliness and desperate voyeurism she becomes inextricably involved in the search for the missing woman.

Told from the points of view of the three women in alternating chapters, the reader must evaluate the plot from three oftentimes different perceptions. The twist which is perfunctory is these types of mysteries is heavily foreshadowed but solid nonetheless. That it will be transposed into a film is inevitable. It is interesting to speculate who will portray the three women who tell the tale. The Girl on the Train is a quick read, a perfect beach book.