When I read The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, I had no preconceived notions about it. I didn't even know what it was about. A friend of mine had read it, couldn't put it down, and recommended it to me without telling me the premise of the novel. I trust her judgment, so I picked up a copy and read it. No preview, just dove right in. It's great when you have friends that are avid readers, and they know you well enough to know what you'll like and what you won't like.
I enjoyed reading The Girl on the Train, but here is what you might want to know before you decide to jump on the train for this reading journey...
The book begins with making you aware that something bad has happened to someone. The rest unfolds in pieces and, at times, you may feel a bit unsure of what is going on. This is on purpose. Much like what Kate Williams did in her novel, The Pleasures of Men, Hawkins purposely writes to put you in the same mood and the same frame of mind as the protagonist. I think the author does an excellent job of it, but some people don't like having their emotions manipulated to pull them into a story.
So, what does that mean?
It means this is a well-written who-done-it, but it is not a happy book. I've read some reviews that call it depressing. I didn't find it depressing, but - let's face it - crime isn't a joyful kind of thing, now, is it? When you mix that with a protagonist who is not a happy person, the results are a little different than what some people expect. Readers like someone to root for, but this poor woman's life is in a bit of a slump. She's not some shiny heroine that you're cheering for through the whole novel. Her life is real, her problems are real (and she has quite a few of them), and life isn't fun for her at the moment.
My advice? It's a worthy read, but if your life is in a slump these days, save this one for happier times when your head can handle it. I would like to explain more about what I mean, but I fear saying too much. I will say this, it is not a novel you should begin reading in bits and pieces in your spare time. Read it to read it and read all the way to the end. Don't stop halfway through and say you don't like it. You won't know if you like it or not until you finish it. It's just that kind of book.
Until next time,...happy reading!!