The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train uses the plot device of an unreliable main character whose memory is difficult to access to reveal the denouement right at the end of the book. She knows the answers but they are locked away, impossible to access.

The main character is an alcoholic who spies on her former husband and his new wife – Tom and Anna – from the safety of the train to London. As time goes on she begins to watch another couple – Scott and Megan – in a nearby house whom she imagines to have a perfect life. She is outraged when she sees the wife being cuddled in the garden by another man and when, shortly afterwards, Megan disappears Rachel the alcoholic inserts herself into the investigation determined to get to the bottom of it.

I knew an alcoholic who had very similar blackouts and this bit of the story rings true but it makes the reader get very irritated by the protagonist as we want Rachel to “sober up” literally and metaphorically as we read all the things she is getting involved in just because she lacks the focus to get on with what she really needs to do.

There is meant to be a slow reveal about who the person is who has caused the disappearance of Megan but I have to say that I worked it out quite early on so if it’s not so much a who done it it might be better to think about it as a why done it.

The police don’t come out of it very well but again this is a plot device to give the protagonist a reason to behave as she does.

I can see why it is a best seller. I can recommend it as a quick read, perhaps by a pool.