The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.
EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
“My mother used to tell me that I had an overactive imagination…”
And with that, Rachel the narrator certainly becomes one of the most unreliable narrators I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. There are actually several points of view in ‘The Girl on the Train’ but Rachel is the main narrator. A sad sack of a woman, she has been recently divorced, fired from her job in London and is losing a nasty battle with the bottle. Because she is often drunk, nothing she says or recalls is trustworthy.
I needed a break from my usual contemporary romances and this thriller kept me glued to my Kindle! Rachel sees a “perfect couple” from the train every day, and she concocts an elaborate fantasy life for them. Surely they must lead a perfect life! Unlike her, they seem to live a charmed life, sitting in their pretty garden every day, sipping coffee together.
“I don’t know their names, either, so I had to name them myself. Jason, because he’s handsome in a British film star kind of way, not a Depp or a Pitt, but a Firth, or a Jason Isaacs. And Jess just goes with Jason, and it goes with her. It fits her, pretty and carefree as she is. They’re a match, they’re a set. They’re happy, I can tell. They’re what I used to be, they’re Tom and me five years ago. They’re what I lost, they’re everything I want to be.”
Slowly we realize that in fact NOTHING in this book is as it seems, and Rachel is soon drawn into a frightening situation about which, sadly for her, she has no memory. On top of everything else, Rachel is constantly morose and sad, depressed about the loss of her beloved husband Tom, and begins to drive everyone away who ever cared about her.
“Beautiful sunshine, cloudless skies, no one to play with, nothing to do. Living like this, the way I’m living at the moment, is harder in the summer when there is so much daylight, so little cover of darkness, when everyone is out and about, being flagrantly, aggressively happy. It’s exhausting, and it makes you feel bad if you’re not joining in.”
Rachel drinks so much that she begins to black out. She stalks her ex-husband and his new wife Anna but just can’t seem to stop herself.
“I have lost control over everything, even the places in my head.”
This book takes many twists and turns and nothing at all is at it seems. Just when I thought I knew where the story was going, it veered off into another place entirely. it is smart, perfectly paced and filled with flawed, all-too-human characters. Even though Rachel is COMPLETELY unlikable, I was cheering for her throughout the book.
‘The Girl on the Train’ is smart, clever and surprising. Glad I read it before I saw the movie came out. Highly recommend!!
Read an excerpt from the book HERE