I was offered the hardcover of The Girl On The Train last Christmas by Sarah @Sarah’s Bookshelf. So now that my friends wanted to watch the movie, I really, really needed to read the book first (I always need to read the book first).
So I’ve decided to write here my opinion about both the book and the movie. And don’t worry, no comparisons to Gone Girl included since I’ve actually never watched it. The star rating refers to the book.
“There’s nothing so painful, so corrosive, as suspicion.”
Who should read it? Anyone, I’ve always thought this type of books can reach any type of audience.
Would I recommend it? Yes.
Of course, the plot, once dissected, is basic. You have your usual suspects, and you know, in the end, one of them has to be the ‘killer’. This means while it was easy to predict the end in some way, many other possible endings would be as equally easy to predict. In this case, I thought the narrative flowed smoothly. It makes the reader gain awareness until it finally…gives the confirmation it was heading towards to. So it’s a good sign that you were suspecting it would end the way it did. It was coherent, with the right balance between being predictable but not entirely expected. The pace was good and fast. No major complaints.
Many of the readers seem to mention the characters are unlikable and difficult to relate to, and based on a first impression, I would agree. Now we need to remember that at least two of the main characters are clearly unstable (for different reasons) and both are suffering some kind of post-traumatic disorder (we easily learn that after). In the end, the whole cast is human. Ugly, flawed, human. Again, and as I’ve mentioned before in some other book review, this is something that the mainstream audience has problems with. We as human beings always think we are better somehow. We always think we’d never be in the situation these characters were, or make decisions as stupid as they did, or ever hit rock bottom like that. So, at some point, we don’t even feel sorry for these characters anymore. They frustrate us, due to their weakness. Hey, human for you.
All of this to say I’ve actually enjoyed exploring their minds through the pages. Even if as a whole, the characters might not be relatable, their issues are. Suspicion, jealousy, self-doubt, guilt, and so many other emotions that we are all way too familiar with.
The Writing Style
The story is narrated in the first person and from three different POVs. In my opinion, Anna’s POV was unnecessary. The fewer POVs, the higher the suspense. The author’s writing style is strong, short and sweet, straight to the point. Hawkins’ foreshadowing techniques were implemented at all the right points and made you wonder (aka turn the page).
Overall, The Girl On The Train is a page-turner. Whether you find the end predictable or not, you will want the final confirmation, and you won’t stop until you get to the end of the book.
From the point of view of someone who has read the book, it’s always interesting and curious to see those characters you have imagined in your head coming to life on the screen.
But that was it.
In short, I didn’t like the movie that much. It’s difficult to judge how suspenseful it was, considering I already knew how everything would end. However, it seemed to miss several points where the book mostly succeeded in piquing the reader’s curiosity. Many details were revealed way too soon, while other characters weren’t explored enough for you to even care or be surprised in the end. The location was different, the people felt different. Emily Blunt was great though, she really gave life to the role of Rachel, making her alcoholic issues feel believable and real. Now we all know a movie is not a novel, and a novel is not a movie. Changes had to be made. The funny thing is that they seemed to keep what they shouldn’t and get rid of what they could make use of. For example, the movie tried to use the same style of PoVs as the book – I personally think they failed. The same can be said about the messy timeline attempt and wrong order of events. And finally, for a thriller, the pace feels ways too slow. It makes me glad I’ve read the book first.
Okay so this is the second review of this same book I’m stumbling on in less than a week!
If this isn’t a sign I need to get my copy, I’m not sure what would be 🙂
(The plot catches my attention every time)
Wonderful post! I’ve read the book already & I can’t wait until I get to see the movie. The book was wonderful though 😀
Sounds like a good book but I prefer to read another genres. But maybe I will try the movie! 🙂 ʕ•́ᴥ•̀ʔっ
* Le blog de la Licorne *
Very interesting, it sounds like a good book. I’ll add it to my seemingly never ending reading list lol.
I’ve been reading this lately but I haven’t got to the middle part of it. I don’t know maybe the words are too deep, I just couldn’t get my head right. But hopefully, I could read it and finish it when I have the time. Thanks for sharing your review. I was intrigued. Most people say it has a Gone Girl kind of feel, is it true? Anyway, thank you so much for sharing your review. 🙂
Most people do compare it with ‘Gone Girl’ but to be honest I’ve never read it. They say it’s better, so I might add it to my TBR 🙂
I’ve been seeing this book displayed in the bookstore window (each time I passed-by) and I’m actually curious about the story plus the movie. But because it’s Emily Blunt, well I would definitely watch. I like her!
From the title itself i knew it was a good book. I suck in readinb actually, i cannot finish one book in ages. And its ridiculous! Kidding aside, i love books that are ultimately a page turner, like i wanted to finish the story in one sitting and your review of this book makes me want to get a copy, sit on a couch and read all day long!
I haven’t read the book yet, nor seen the movie. But I have heard of the girl on the train. And I was still doubting whether to go and watch it and read it or not. I saw the trailer and that looked okay. But I wasn’t completely convinced yet. I like to read it’s an addictive read. I want to read more, but to start again I need a books that keeps me coming back to read further. I’m curious to find out what I would think about the characters! Now I’ve read your review, I decided to read the book first. And then maybe also try out the movie.
The Girl on the Train sounds like a really good book. Always nice to score a free copy! I try not to watch movies after I read the book as it always turns out to be a disappointment. Books are always better!
I havent read or seen the movie but will definitely add this to my reading list. As for the movie i prefer reading the book first and then watching the movie – always. Haven’t read a mystery book now since some time so will start with this one
I liked the book too but I am not that into the movie at all
I didn’t know the movie was adapted from a novel! and from the movie title, the poster and just one commented i’ve heard about the movie, i actually didn’t think it’s the suspenseful kind of thriller movie at all. yes, that comment mentioned that it’s a very slow moving, but not boring movie. now you made me curious about the movie. perhaps i will watch it first, and then find the book. somehow, i prefer to watch the movie adaptation first before going for the book because the book tends to have so much more details that the movie would have to leave out.
Oh that’s a really interesting perspective, since I’m exactly the opposite. I need to read the book first, because after I’ve watched the movie, my imagination doesn’t work on a book anymore since I already have the visuals in my head.
Just read this! Yes I agree with you, from the start of just didn’t like any of the characters. It was like I didn’t ant to read it but found myself turning all the pages in 2 days until the end!! I did guess half way through though who the culprit was….. great book! I haven’t seen the film but kinda don’t want to but do at the same time! ! Gaaaaaa ree love30
great review…if interested, check out mine at https://books6259.wordpress.com/2016/10/15/the-girl-on-the-train-by-paula-hawkins/
Seems like a good plot. If I get the opportunity I will pick up the book.
Movie may be disappointing if the book is good.
I have an ebook copy of The girl on the train but never read it yet. Im planning to watch the movie first for me to still get the feeling wherein you’re guessing who’s who. I always read the book first too before and I want it to try the other way around this time. I always have the same opinion of having the book as the better version than the movie so let’s see if wathcing rhe movie first will change my mind. 🙂
I’m more of a movie person but have a few selection of books I’m still in the middle of picking up. Always disappointed for those I read and the movie adaptation which this book seems to fit into. Book sounds interesting and I like that the main characters are unstable and human, much to the disliking of mainstream audiences. Will give it a try sometime!
That’s the thing with reading a book first before watching a movie version, rather than doing it the other way around. I have seen the title and synopsis of the movie and thought it was interesting enough for me to want to watch. I haven’t though.
Even if I were to have a copy of the book, I would not read until I watch. Why? Because the book will always be better than the movie. The great thing about books is that no matter how the author builds up a character, how you perceive that character may not exactly be the same as how I perceive, and anyone else. In short, the book allows us the freedom to imagine. Movies on the other hand, feeds us. They either do it well or fail miserably.
Same as you I want to read the book first before watching it. The story may different in the movie since they need to show it for two hours only. I want to watch this one also, I don’t know that there is a book pala. Now I have to buy one first.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’d love to. Great review! Very interesting. It’s a great reminder for me. Thanks for that!
I personally am a movie person. Will anyday opt for a movie than a book but I know for a fact that books are more enlightening in their own way.
I read Girl On The Train. I figured out the ending early but I still enjoyed the book. I’ve heard the movie isn’t as good and it made me not want to see it. I have also found that if I watch the movie first, I can enjoy the book better. I watched Gone Girl first and loved it and read the book and loved it. I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed the movie if I had done it the other way around.
Very informative post! I have read the book but not seen the film! I am hoping too but hope i am not as disappointed as you were. Its often that the films don’t usually live up to the book, maybe one day directors will get it right…
I read the book and I loved it. It reminds me of Gone Girl. It’s also interesting to hear that you don’t like the movie, I’m actually excited when I saw the trailer. But yes, like most movie adaptations, they most of the time fails to live up to the book.
Great reviews!! I didn’t really care for the book, but I still gave the movie a go. I totally agree with you, it lost the suspense.