In my quest for a psychological thriller that could keep me as enthralled as Gone Girl, I stumbled across Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train.
The book didn’t fail – I really did struggle to put it down, craving the knowledge of ‘what happens next’.
I despised almost every character in the book. Not only were they unreliable narrators, they were exaggerated beyond real life, which meant that I did feel at times like I was being swamped in melodrama. My immature imagination raged every time Rachel bought another gin and tonic; my naive mind willing her to stay away from the alcohol. At the time, I thought it was awfully repetitive – this cycle of Rachel’s drunken episodes – but then I realised the reality of being an alcoholic – it doesn’t just disappear over night. I then appreciated this more realistic approach to a character, rather than a fairytale-like, magic vanishment of all addiction.
I figured out the killer too early on for my liking: I missed that last-gasp, horrifying resolution of Gillian Flynn’s trilogy of thrillers. Nonetheless, I cannot award the book any less than 4 stars because it really was a thriller – it gripped me from beginning to end. Despising the characters does not take away from the story: they are not supposed to be likeable. Similarly, working out who was responsible for the murder earlier on than my liking did not ruin my experience of the book – I had to keep reading, waiting for any possible last-minute revelations that would reveal an alternative killer.