Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mystery and Mania

I will be brief about this next novel because there are some books you should say very little about, especially when it's a mystery. I wouldn't want to risk giving anything away.

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.

Enough said.

Until next time,...happy reading!!


  1. Well you beat me to it! I started reading “The Girl on the Train” about a month ago but put it down after the first quarter for the very reason you stated I was trying to read it in bits and pieces. So I put it down until my next holiday which happens to be next week.

    I got to hear about it through a radio show I mostly catch on the way home from work. Once a month they interview an author and ask the listeners to review their latest book.

    Others books they have reviewed and I have read, and finish are: “The bone season” by Samantha Shannon, “This house is haunted” by John Bone and “The age of miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker. They are all very different stories.

    Anyway Bye for now hopes to see you in person next week. Bernard.

    1. Your first sentence made me laugh, my dear Bernard! I could hear your voice in my head. I do hope you'll pick the book back up on your holiday. Long plane rides make for great reading time (or sleeping time). I would love to hear what you think of it whenever you're done.

      Thank you for giving me the titles of the other books you heard about and read. I like to read different types of stories. I'll be interested to hear which one of them you liked the best.

      In fact, I look forward to discussing books and many other lovely things with you soon...because, yes, you will most definitely see me in person next week. I've looked forward to it since I heard you were jumping the pond!

      I wish you safe travels and good reading time! :)