Gone Girl on A Train

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

No spoilers - but you may work it out yourself

Apparently since I left my previous job, the infamous Reading Between the Wines book club that I set up there has fallen apart slightly. However, a couple of the more hardcore members and I have been seeing each other regularly since I left and between us we have set up Reading Between the Wines 2.0, new and improved. At our last dinner date we all expressed an interest in reading The Girl on the Train, the latest must-read by Paula Hawkins. I hadn’t heard much about it, bar that it was suddenly everywhere in all the bookshops, and the countless times I’d seen it and Gone Girl mentioned in the same sentence in magazine reviews, so I was interested.

So this week, after finishing the nightmare-inducing American Psycho, I decided I needed a slightly more easy-reading book (i.e. one with as few mind-numbing outfit descriptions and torture-rape scenes as possible). So I picked up The Girl on the Train and as predicted it certainly was easy reading. I started it at 6pm on Tuesday and finished it at 10pm the following evening.

So it’s easy to see that I enjoyed it, but with caveats. I could easily relate to the starting premise of it; a girl on a train who looks at the people around her on her regular commute and makes up names and back-stories for them. It’s the sort of thing we all do (I hope). In TGOTT Hawkins picks up on this universal human trait and takes it to it’s darkest conclusion. I love story-lines like this and I applaud authors who write them; the idea seems so obvious once it’s out there but it is so hard to achieve well. On that note I’d say this one at least started well. However I was a little disappointed with the ending, which I saw coming a mile off, and seemed a wee bit rushed and contrite.

Now I’ve read TGOTT I can see why reviewers were comparing it so frequently to Gone Girl, and I hope you don’t mind me not re-inventing the wheel as I do just that.

I read both Gone Girl and TGOTT in a couple of tense sittings; they are very much that type of book. They’re interesting enough to keep you reading, but light enough that you are able to read half of them in one go without feeling too taxed. You can quickly consume them and enjoy them, but you don’t have to worry too much about stopping to savour them - I’d probably compare books like these to eating at McDonalds.

That’s not where the similarities end. Both books are set within a context of a seemingly normal relationship with a sinister undertone. You do finish both books questioning your own partner since both books make lying and pretending to be someone you’re not very easy indeed!

So if you’ve read Gone Girl and enjoyed it, TGOTT is definitely one for you. If you do read it, I’d be interested to know if you finished it as quickly as I did, and exactly how far you were in to it when you managed to work out the ending! Those are the questions I’ll be raising soon with Reading Between the Wines 2.0 and I’m really looking forward to it.

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