The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins

Read time: about 5 minutes

I had no plans of reading this book anytime this year. Even the release of the movie did not have me reaching for the book. But when a dear book buddy announced a read-along, I jumped right into it!! Here is my experience of reading this psychological thriller novel by British author Paula Hawkins, and a short movie review of the same that released this year.


I got my copy before the movie was shaped, hence I have the black one with the blurred vision that is often experienced while looking out of a train. The title is splayed across the center, and it makes for a decent cover. It is informative about the plot and sits well with the title, but I cannot comment of the aesthetics, as I am neither drawn, nor repelled by it.


The girl on the train is about a woman, Rachel, who takes the train to London every day. On her way, she passes by homes along the track, one of which is occupied by a couple who she obsessively observes, and has named them Jason and Jesse. She also peers into her old home which is now home to her ex-husband, and his wife and daughter. Though looking into their lives refreshes the wound of infidelity inflicted by her husband every single time, she can’t help but watch their perfect life.

She lives with a friend, and apart from this, there is a strange orange haired man who plays small but significant roles in the story.


Agonized and lost even after many months of her divorce, Rachel resorts to drinking to run away from the mess that her life is turning into. She loses her job, but hides the fact from her friend, pretending to take the train to work every day. Immersed in sorrow and unable to forgive her husband for cheating on her, Rachel lives a life that is just spiraling downwards.

While on the train she watches a couple, who seem like the epitome of a perfect life to her, until one day, she notices something that soon becomes a crucial evidence in a crime. Rachel is intrigued, and disturbed and believing that what she has seen will help solve the case, she reaches the police.

Other than this, she is constantly harassing her husband in a drunken stupor, and it doesn’t help Rachel, that this crime has occurred a few houses away from where her ex-husband lives. She becomes obsessed with the crime, and is determined to help, but how can an absolute stranger, going on a train help? It also doesn’t help that she has blank spaces in the place of events that she is sure occurred again due to her drinking habits.

She has a wound to speak for it, but what really happened? With growing obsession and helplessness, she is further harrowed as crucial incidents that will help solve the case are now a blur due to her being drunk. She suddenly finds a purpose to her otherwise miserable life, but how can she help when she herself in immersed in a sea of uncertainty?

Good Points

Full points to the Author for weaving this intriguing tale around the train. The plot, the cover and title are all impressively interwoven. The events revolve around the train, and the tracks and not it is interesting to see how such a different approach is a breath of fresh air.

Secondly, and more importantly, kudos to the writer for the fantastic character development. Each character is quite interesting, but Rachel takes the cake! She is so real and relatable, it’s a little scary. It is a very real, and harsh albeit sad take on how we spiral to unimaginable lows due to the pain inflicted upon us, and how we latch on to the strangest leash of hope to feel alive again.

Bad Points

The character development is amazing, if only a little more emphasis was laid on the other characters, at least the most significant ones, it would have been a lot better.

Apart from this ,the end was just average. It is simple to deduce who the culprit is, as it somehow feels rushed in the end, with not a lot of background to it. When read as a crime thriller, it can be an average read.


I absolutely loved reading this book, mostly due to the characters, or rather, due to Rachel! Though the end was a bit of a disappointment, I still would recommend this book to all you guys who enjoy crazily woven stories!

Who do I recommend this to ??

If you love stories that are more about the characters, this fast-paced book would surely make an enjoyable read.

Quotable Quotes

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: the holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps..

The holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mould yourself through the gaps.

I can’t do this, I can’t just be a wife. I don’t understand how anyone does it—there is literally nothing to do but wait. Wait for a man to come home and love you. Either that or look around for something to distract you.

And I’ve just got to let myself feel the pain, because if I don’t, if I keep numbing it, it’ll never really go away.

I have to find a way of making myself happy, I have to stop looking for happiness elsewhere. It’s true..

Movie Review

Rachel is played by the amazing Emily Blunt, and I think that was the only reason I watched this movie (Na, am kidding, I’d watch it anyway!, just with less enthusiasm). Having said that Emily did a fine job at being Rachel.

The setting is a lot different than I imagined, it was more serene and posh than it was in my head, and it was very very fast!! The events were almost a blur, and a lot of essential parts were omitted- not events, but the build to them!

Like they say, the book was better!

Gazala Amreen

Logophile, bibliophile, writer, designer, high on wanderlust and all things pretty.

Bangalore, KA