“All I know is, one minute I’m ticking along fine and life is sweet and I want for nothing. And the next, I can’t wait to get away. I’m all over the place, slipping and sliding again.”
– Megan, a central character’s thoughts in the book.
Isn’t that deep and beautiful? In a sad way? I found myself copying some such lines into my diary throughout the reading of the book, “The Girl on the Train”. Much has been said and written about this bestseller, but here’s my little take on this tale-
It’s a thriller about a girl on a train (as the title no doubt implies), which she travels on, from her residence in Ashbury to London, and back again, every single day. She looks out of the windows and imagines the lives of the people that reside in the houses she passes by (something I enjoy doing too). She is especially fond of a couple, “Jess” and “Jason”, she calls them and envies their “perfect” life, a life which she could have had, if it wasn’t for her bad habit- her drinking.
One day she witnesses something shocking in J&J’s backyard; now the girl sets about wanting to right the wrong and is tossed smack dab in the middle of a mystery. Uncovering the mystery becomes her mission. It fuels her pathetic life and creates a goal to work towards. But there’s one big problem here… She was too drunk to remember the details of that murky day. And no one trusts an alcoholic who’s had a troubled past!
In order to solve the puzzle, she first has to recollect the missing chunk in her memory.
One thing that gnaws at her (and the readers) as she goes snooping around is whether she herself was involved in the crime. Who knows! She has bruises on her body that she can’t account for!
Or was it the husband? Or someone else? I doubted everyone in the book at some point! I’m not big on thrillers and I’m not familiar with the workings of this genre. I bought this book because almost everyone in the blogosphere recommended it… But I did read it. And loved it too!
There’s more to this book than the particular scene that the “girl” witnessed. There’s her twisted past and her miserable present. There are other female characters too. It is the same story narrated from 3 different viewpoints- by 3 disturbed, paranoid women- and our doubts keep flitting from one to the other. My brain was such a hot mess as I read this book that I thought all those women must be one single person!
Gloomy though I felt as I read this, I couldn’t stop myself from continuing. The prose, the mind-boggling story and the grey shades of the human mind presented in the book just grabbed me and wouldn’t let go of me. We are always told (as reinforced by the soaps on TV) that people are either good or bad, but it is never just so… There’s more to a person, layers I think they are called. The author, Paula Hawkins, has unquestionably delved deep into the mechanics of a human mind and poured them into this book. I highly recommend it to everyone, even someone like me, who isn’t particularly fond of mysteries.
“Hollowness: that I understand. I’m starting to believe that there isn’t anything you can do to fix it. That’s what I’ve taken from the therapy sessions: that holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mould yourself through the gaps.”
I rate this book a 5 on 5. But would I read it again? Not in a while… Simply because it scares me to…