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Review: “Girl on a Train”

by Morgan Pangburn, In-Depth Editor

This photo provided by Riverhead Books shows the cover of the book, "The Girl on the Train," by author Paula Hawkins. (AP Photo/Riverhead Books)

Unfortunately, expectations are a lot of the time not reality. Enter Rachel Watson, the recently divorced, alcoholic, main narrator in the novel “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins. Each day as Rachel commutes by train to her job in the city, she watches the “perfect” couple in a house by the tracks. She names them Jess and Jason, and imagines their entire life. The perfect life that she believes her and her ex husband used to live. One day, Jess, whose real name is Megan, is seen kissing another man on the deck of the house. What happened to Jason, better known as Scott? This is when their “perfect” lives suddenly go downhill. The next day, Megan is missing. Did she run away? Or was she kidnapped? Rachel’s already messy life, gets even messier as she finds herself in the middle of the investigation.

Hawkins writes with a cinematic elegance that most thrillers aren’t able to capture. The switching between narrators allows for the readers to have different perspectives and insights that help establish the difference between imagination and reality. Throughout the novel, Rachel tends to pass out drunk and not be able to distinguish her memories from her imagination, making the chilling story even more confusing. More and more details surrounding Megan’s disappearance continue to be revealed, leading up to a shocking twist that will leave readers stunned.

Hawkins uses the idea of “judging books by their covers” to perspectives of others’ lives. This book will forever change your judgments based only on what meets the eye. The fine line between imagination and reality is questioned and challenged–Hawkins does a great job making her readers question everything they have previously believed about human interactions. Just remember, not everything is how it seems.