Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Girl on the Train

Paula Hawkins said in an interview, "Nobody expects this, do they?" about the phenomenal success of her thriller, The Girl on the Train. I wouldn't have. Don't get me wrong. It's a good read. Something to take with you on your vacation to that B&B on the Oregon Coast. But the prose is prosaic, and the first-person point of view of the three women narrators has one wondering how one of the women, who ends up dead, manages to tell her tale. I mean, this isn't The Lovely Bones.

The main character -- our protagonist -- is Rachel, and she is a drunk, and as such, her narration of the story is unreliable. She has memory lapses (to say the least), she mis-remembers things, and she believes things that her husband (now ex-husband) told her that may or not be true. In addition, she lies like a rug. All this serves to keep the reader guessing -- it did me -- but it also becomes a bit tedious. In fact, at one point I was hoping that Rachel would become another victim and once in the afterlife, be more or less compelled to tell the truth -- I mean, who lies in the afterlife?

The other women who relate the story are Anna and Megan. They are both flawed women, as is Rachel. In fact, halfway through the book one has to ask, 'why do we care about these women?' The answer is, we don't. We just want to get to the end and find out 'who done it.' Because The Girl on the Train is, after all is said and done, a thriller.

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